Huntsville Retains “Straight A” Financial Report Card
May 21, 2019
Two of the nation’s top credit rating agencies assigned the City of Huntsville their highest scores this week. Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s Rating Services awarded Huntsville a rating of Aaa and AAA, respectively.
The credit rating agencies cited Huntsville’s strengths to include a robust economy, sound City management with conservative policies and practices, solid budgetary performance and a strong institutional framework. They noted the community’s above average wealth, low unemployment, strong regional tax base and Huntsville’s position as an economic engine for northern Alabama.
According to S&P, “The city has also been reinvesting in its community with deliberate and effective urban planning and design efforts. With a combination of pay-as-you-go financing from excess revenues, tax increment revenues and debt proceeds, the city has been able to undertake multiple projects that address infrastructure, such as street realignment, fiber optics, water plants, traffic signals, parks and recreation, and facilities for core services. These ongoing urban design and infrastructure initiatives will help Huntsville improve its overall quality of life and have a positive impact on the community.”
Huntsville has maintained its Straight A credit status for the past decade. Triple-A is the highest mark a city can achieve and is only awarded to a minority of government entities in the nation. Less than one percent of 22,250 cities and counties receive the top ratings.
“The tremendous growth in Huntsville, our ability to work together strategically, efficiently and collaboratively has made this success possible,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “We’ll use these high credit marks to borrow money at exceptionally low-interest rates to fund projects in the City’s capital improvement plan.”
The City of Huntsville will issue debt later this month valued at about $85 million. Of this amount, $50 million will support capital projects for greenways, park and recreation improvements, libraries and public safety.
These projects include improvements to John Hunt Park, Merrimack Park, Brahan Spring Park, Goldsmith-Schiffman Stadium, the Dr. Richard Showers, Sr. Recreation Center, Cavalry Hill Community Center; construction of the new Councill School Park and Hampton Cove-area Recreation Center; Iceplex improvements, support for the new libraries on the Berachah Campus and Sandra Moon Complex;and construction of the Public Safety Training Complex and Police Firing Range. Approximately $10 million will fund downtown parking garages, and another $25 million will go toward infrastructure improvements to Highway 20/Greenbrier Parkway.