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Fitch affirms City’s general obligation and appropriation-backed credit ratings; outlook revised to stable

Fitch Ratings (“Fitch”) has affirmed the credit ratings for the City of Kansas City, Mo.’s outstanding general obligation bonds at “AA” and revised its outlook from “negative” to “stable.” At the same time, Fitch affirmed the credit ratings on the City’s appropriation-backed debt at “A+,” also with a stable outlook.

In March 2012, Fitch placed the City on a negative credit outlook. At the same time, Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s affirmed their “Aa2” and “AA” ratings, respectively, both with a stable credit outlook. With today’s revision, all three credit rating agencies now have stable credit outlooks for Kansas City, Mo.

Over the last several weeks, City staff provided information on the progress that has been made in the City’s financial position and specifically with pension negotiations. As a result, Fitch released its credit ratings report with the revised outlook of stable.

The report indicates that the change in outlook “reflects the City’s revised capital plans, which are much more modest in scope than previously contemplated, as well as progress made towards improved pension funding.” Voters last August approved a half-cent sales tax to support the Parks and Recreation Department and street maintenance, while eliminating several property taxes and fees.

Mayor Sly James is extremely pleased with the change in Fitch’s credit outlook and recognizes the wisdom of the residents of Kansas City, Mo., for their foresight in agreeing to increase revenues. Additionally, Mayor James cited the hard work of City staff, labor leaders and members of the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Pension Task Force, especially its chairman, Herb Kohn, with creating a path forward toward affordable and sustainable pensions for all City employees.

“Kansas City has chosen to directly tackle the difficult finance issues created by the national recession. Public votes have shored up revenue and created jobs. Together we are working hard to solve our pension imbalance. It hasn’t been an easy road, but we are getting closer to sustainable pension reform that is significant and measurable,” said Mayor James.

“Fitch continues to recognize the City’s position as an economic engine in the region. The rating affirmation is reflective of the fact that this City continues to be on firm financial footing despite the recent economic downturn,” said City Manager Troy Schulte.

For media inquiries or more information, please contact City Treasurer Tammy Queen at 816-513-1024.


City News Releases - 2013

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