OKC VeloCity | Bond agencies award OKC top rating

Bond agencies award OKC top rating

By Justin Tinder / Inside OKC / April 14, 2020

Reports from two of the nation’s most prominent bond rating agencies – Standard & Poors and Moody’s – have given the city of Oklahoma City their highest rating as they have for the past 10 years. Moody’s affirmed the City’s Aaa rating and stable outlook in a March 25 report, and S&P affirmed its AAA rating and stable outlook the same day.

Oklahoma City is one of a handful of cities to achieve an “AAA” rating from both agencies. By granting the AAA rating, bond rating agencies signal that they have as much faith as possible in these entities to honor the terms of the bond. In other words, they believe the city is in a very strong financial position.

The higher the bond rating, the lower the interest entities have to pay when borrowing funds – essentially making infrastructure projects cheaper. In statements sent out by the city, the agencies cited Oklahoma City’s “revenue flexibility,” “financial resilience,” and “strong financial policies and practices.”

“The Mayor and City Council’s priority of conservative financial leadership provides the foundation for these bond ratings,” said City Manager Craig Freeman. “In the face of economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19, we are appreciative of the rating agencies’ recognition of the strength of Oklahoma City.”

The ratings keep Oklahoma City in an elite group of major American municipalities with the highest possible rating. They allow the City to sell bonds at the lowest interest rates and spend more on streets, bridges, sidewalks, trails, park improvements and more. The ratings are used to price bonds that the City sells to fund MAPS 4 projects and the "Better Streets, Safer City" infrastructure investment program.

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