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Standard & Poor raises Greenville bond rating

By Scott Harvey

Greenville – The City of Greenville stands to benefit from an upgrade of its general obligation debt by Standard & Poor's (S&P) Ratings Service.

S&P raised Greenville's underlying rating to AA. The upgrade was made based on the City's strong financial position, evidenced by very strong reserves, despite recently planned drawdowns and its diverse and historically sustainable revenue stream.

Finance Director Cliff Copeland says the upgrade will provide an increase in the number of buyers interested in purchasing city bonds, which should equate to lower interest rates on their bonds.

The S&P report indicated that the rating reflects the City's stable local economy with access to the Dallas metropolitan statistical area, diverse and steadily expanding property tax base, and good financial management policies and practices.

The report goes on to state that Greenville's financial performance is strong and considers the City's financial management practices good. The City's diverse property tax base is steadily expanding, which effectively helps lower the property tax rate.

Total assessed valuation has increased by an average of 7.5% annually since 2007 to $1.2 billion. The City's overall debt burden is a moderate 4.9% of market value and annual debt service requirements accounts for a moderate 12% of expenditures in fiscal year 2008.

S&P states that the City's outlook is stable.