Santa Fe’s $20M infrastructure bond rated strong
Two major credit agencies have rated the city of Santa Fe’s new $20 million infrastructure bond issue AA-plus, a strong designation that reflects the efforts at City Hall to remediate internal financial shortcomings, Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber said in a statement.
Both Fitch Ratings and S&P Global found positives in the city’s financial health and economic outlook, the city said in a news release, highlighting that city officials were contending with a $15 million budget deficit as recently as two years ago.
The $20 million bond is intended to reset the city’s regular cycle of bond-funded infrastructure improvements and chip away at a multimillion-dollar backlog of overdue brick-and-mortar needs — among them repairs at city recreation centers, a new fire station and fixes at City Hall as well as municipal trails, libraries and other city offices.
City officials have said the bond issue will preempt expected Federal Reserve rate increases and re-establish residents’ trust that a large-scale project can be competently managed, while also demonstrating the Webber administration has taken steps to improve on the failings identified in the McHard report, an external 2017 review of city finances that found severe risks of fraud, waste and abuse.
“A strong bond rating like this one means when we break ground on the new south-side fire station or rebuild the [Genoveva Chavez Community Center], we’ll be able to do it at a much lower cost for Santa Feans,” Webber said. “That’s a big deal: The work this administration has done to modernize and improve the way our city is managed is already paying dividends.”
The city issued an $11 million bond earlier this year to fund roadway improvements over a three-year period. That bond was also rated AA-plus.