Niagara Gazette

October 7, 2013

Niagara Falls gets another bond rating boost

Staff Reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — For the second time in recent weeks, the city of Niagara Falls has received a boost from a bond rating agency. 

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, an agency that assesses the credit worthiness of municipal governments and other entities, announced last week that it has affirmed its BBB-plus long-term rating for the city and removed Niagara Falls from CreditWatch "negative." 

S & P also assigned a "stable" outlook for the city's finances due to the improved liquidity it experienced following the receipt of delayed casino revenue in August. In a release, S & P indicated that the city's rating reflects its weak economy, flexibility, budgetary performance in fiscal year 2012 along with weak debt and management. 

Ratings agencies periodically review the financial soundness of various businesses and municipalities to determine their credit worthiness. Higher ratings generally mean lower interest rates on borrowing for the entities involved. The city’s bond rating took several hits in recent months amid concerns about the lack of incoming casino revenue and its impact on overall city operations.

In September, Fitch Ratings, another bond rating agency, announced its decision to affirm the city's "BBB" bond rating while removing it from a "negative" watch and assigning it a "stable outlook. “BBB” is the lowest rating within a category known as “investment grade” for Fitch.

As was the case with S & P, Fitch indicated that its decision was based largely on the delivery of the long-awaiting gaming revenue which had been tied up in a dispute between the Seneca Nation of Indians and the state of New York.