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 sixth consecutive year the City has been rated AAA by both rating agencies. The City of Champaign is the only downstate municipality to achieve a AAA bond rating. AAA ratings 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 pattern will remain strong, with tax and fee revenues likely to rise in line with or above the level of U.S. GDP over the longer term given ongoing economic development and population growth.
- EXPENDITURE FRAMEWORK: The city maintains solid expenditure flexibility.
- LIABILITY BURDEN: The long-term liability burden is low, at 9% of personal income.
- OPERATING PERFORMANCE: The City’s strong revenue-raising powers and reserve levels underpin its capacity to manage through future economic downturns without impairing its fundamental financial flexibility.
Moody’s comments mirrored Fitch’s and included the following:
“The Aaa rating reflects Champaign’s sizeable tax base benefiting from the presence of the University of Illinois, consistently healthy financial position, and relatively modest debt burden.”
The complete ratings from both agencies are available on the City’s website at champaignil.gov/finance/financial-reports/.