City of Champaign’s Excellent AAA Debt Rating is Affirmed

The City of Champaign has once again received the highest rating possible from two financial industry leaders.  In its most recent report, Fitch Ratings affirmed the City’s AAA bond rating, with a stable outlook.  The City’s debt also carries a triple-A rating with a stable outlook from Moody’s Investors Services.  This is the fifth consecutive year the City has been rated AAA by both rating agencies. AAA ratings will help the City receive lower interest rates on the City’s bonds.

According to Finance Director Kay Nees, “The City of Champaign is proud to once again receive a AAA rating, the best rating possible, from both Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Services. These ratings are a testament to the City’s long history of fiscal responsibility and strong financial policies.”

In a release announcing the rating, Fitch noted the following “key drivers” of its decision:

– REVENUE FRAMEWORK: The city’s revenue growth is strong and is expected to grow in line with or above the level of GDP; the city’s home-rule taxing authority increases financial flexibility.
– EXPENDITURE FRAMEWORK: The city maintains solid expenditure flexibility.
– LIABILITY BURDEN: The long-term liability burden is low, at 7% of personal income and is expected to remain low.
– OPERATING PERFORMANCE: The City’s ability to raise revenues along with its healthy reserve levels allow it financial flexibility, even in the event of a future economic downturn.

Moody’s comments mirrored Fitch’s and included the following:

– ECONOMY AND TAX BASE: Champaign’s sizeable tax base is benefited by the presence of the University of Illinois.
– DEBT BURDEN: The City of Champaign maintains a modest debt burden.
– STRONG FINANCIAL POSITION: The City maintains a healthy financial position and has sound financial practices related to pension contributions.

The complete ratings from both agencies are available on the City’s website at champaignil.gov/finance/financial-reports/.


Media Contact: Kay Nees, Finance Director | 217-403-8940 | Kay.Nees@champaignil.gov