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Trio of rating agencies affirm city’s AAA bond rating

Suffolk is one of three South Hampton Roads cities to have AAA bond ratings from the three major rating agencies.

The rating represents the credit-worthiness of city government bonds, coming from Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s. Chesapeake and Virginia Beach also have AAA bond ratings from all three rating agencies.

The city achieved the AAA rating trifecta for the first time in fall 2019.

The rating allows the city to have the highest quality of bonds with the least risk, and indicates that both the principal and interest on the bonds will be paid in full and on time, according to a news release.

Fitch Ratings stated that the city’s reserves are high relative to expected revenue volatility through current and future economic cycles, which leads to a high level of financial resilience and gap-closing ability.

Moody’s rating “reflected the city’s sizable tax base, healthy resident income levels, strong and stable fund balance and liquidity supported by formal fiscal policies and conservative budget assumptions, as well as manageable debt and pension burdens.”

The Standard & Poor rating highlighted the city’s strong management, “guided by robust policies and planning frameworks, which have led to our consistently strong operations, bolstering our already very strong financial position.” It also noted the city’s economic growth in residential, commercial and industrial developments, “which have grown the strong tax base and diversified the economy.”