City Gets Top Credit Ratings

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In a boost to Newport Beach’s stature, as well as a shot in the arm to the controversial Civic Center project, the city has received a AAA credit rating from each of the big three rating agencies.

The ratings, by the Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch rating agencies, means the city will have less interest to pay on its bond issue to finance construction of the new Civic Center.

The cost of that project had been variously estimated at up to $128 million, but the contracts bid so far have come in well under estimates and officials now expect the final tag to be closer to $100 million.

In addition, Newport Beach becomes only the fifth city in California to win a AAA rating from all three agencies, joining Beverly Hills, Manhattan Beach, San Jose and Santa Monica on that elite list.

The ratings “confirm that the city’s finances are exceptionally strong,” said Mayor Keith Curry. “For years, Newport Beach has utilized strict policies, stringent oversight and conservative, long-term financial strategies to keep this among the most financially stable public agencies in the state and the nation.”

Each agency has said it will issue a report explaining its rating by the end of October. The agencies looked at several financial and economic factors, including the city’s financial performance and policies, legal safeguards, revenue, demographics and local economic conditions.



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