Evanston gets top debt rating ahead of bond sale
Evanston aldermen Monday are scheduled to approve selling $16.2 million in general obligation bonds -- and the sale has gotten a clean bill of health from two bond rating agencies.
Moody's Investor Service and Fitch Ratings have assigned their top rating to the new bond issue, and to the rest of the city's existing $118 million in general obligation bonds.
Fitch said the city has "superior socioeconomic fundamentals, a strong and diverse economy and a healthy financial position with manageable debt levels.
But Fitch said the city could face a rating downgrade if it fails to maintain a sufficient financial cushion or fails to "meaningfully address its large pension liability in the intermediate term."
Moody's said the stability of the city's major high education and health care institutions supports an affluent and diverse tax base, but said the city faces challenges because of some reliance on economically sensitive revenue sources including sales taxes, and the underfunded status of its police and fire pension plans.