Bond upgrade will save city #036;2M

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 2, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

An upgrade by one New York bond-rating agency and confirmation of existing ratings by two others are projected to save Suffolk taxpayers more than $2 million over the next 13 years, a city official said.

The city was notified Wednesday that Fitch Ratings upgraded Suffolk’s bond rating to AA after city leaders met with the company’s financial analysts June 19, said Finance Director Christine Ledford.

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Neither Standard & Poors nor Moody’s Investors Service upped the city bond ratings this year.

However, S&P has upgraded the city twice since 1999 and Moody’s has upgraded it three times since 1997, she said.

Thanks to the improvements in city’s credit standing, Suffolk will be able to issue its $41 million general obligation and refunding bonds at a more competitive rate next Wednesday, Ledford said.

The bond sale will include approximately $18 million in new money to finance capital projects, she said.

Specifically, $1.3 million is earmarked for parks and recreation; $3.9 million to complete funding the recently opened North Suffolk Public Safety Center and the new downtown police precinct; and $12.5 million for construction of the city’s new high school.

The remaining will be used to refund $23 million in outstanding 1993 and 1996 general obligation bonds, Ledford said. The refinancing package is expected to save the city $160,000 annually for the next 13 years, totaling more than $2.0 million for the life of the bond.