A key rating agency has given the City of Fresno a big boost. A positive report from Standard and Poor’s could mean big savings for the city.
S&P has upgraded the city’s bond rating from BBB- to an A+. That is a five-level increase.
Officials say that means the city can borrow money at a much better interest rate, saving an estimated $35 million over the next two decades.
Mayor Lee Brand says the ratings improvement means the city will be better able to respond to years of austere budgets and cuts.
“To put in concrete terms, there is money for police officers, firefighters, streets, curbs, gutters, potholes, parks, and park trails. That is a lot of money the city is going to need to meet ever demanding city services,” Brand says.
At the depths of the great recession, budget woes threatened to bankrupt the city.
As a result, all three of the major ratings agencies sharply downgraded the debt Fresno issues, in one case, all the way to essentially junk bond status.
The city is currently in the process of refinancing the more than $850 million in outstanding debt.