Friday, May 9, 2014
St. John the Baptist Parish received notification that Standard & Poors, the bond credit rating agency, assigned an upgraded credit rating of AA- for the Parish’s 2014 general obligation bonds. This upgrade is significant and will result in favorable interest rates for the Parish.
These ratings express an agency’s opinion about a municipality’s ability to meet its financial obligations. The AA- rating, upgraded from A+, expresses a very strong capacity to meet financial commitments. By receiving an upgrade, it reflects strong financial and operation management, very strong budgetary flexibility, very strong liquidity, and a strong budgetary performance, defining the Parish as having a stable outlook. “I am extremely pleased with the rating upgrade which is the result of continuous improvements in our financial reporting and management,” said Parish President Natalie Robottom. “With recent commitments to invest in St. John the Baptist Parish, the future looks very bright,” she added.
The AA- upgrade was assigned to the Parish’s series 2014 GO bonds of $18 million for improvements to parish drainage systems, facilities, parks, roads and bridges, and waterworks projects. The remaining $12 million of the original $30 million bond approved last year will be issued in 2015. “We are pleased with the Parish’s upgrade which will result in better rates and savings to taxpayers when the bonds are sold,” said Vincent Lucia, Chief Financial Officer.
Since 2010, a concerted effort has been made to refinance general obligation bonds as well as water revenue, public improvement, and sales tax bonds, saving the Parish over $2,507,741.83 in interest payments. “The rating upgrade speaks volumes about all the hard work St. John has put into improving its financial status. This upgrade proves the parish is heading in the right direction,” said Toby Cortez, Vice President of Stephens, Inc. The last bond upgrade was received in 2010 by Moody’s rating agency.