DeKalb has earned a bond rating upgrade reflecting the City’s strong financial health resulting from responsible financial policies and transformative economic development successes.
The upgrade by Moody’s Investors Services, one of the three leading rating agencies, increases the City’s bond rating to A1. Among the City’s credit strengths, Moody’s cites notable growth in the City’s economy from larger scale economic development projects in the ChicagoWest Business Center on the far southside.
In its opinion released Oct. 4, Moody’s credits more than $2 billion in investments from Meta, Amazon, Kraft Heinz and Ferrara Candy for positive trends in both sales and use taxes and property taxes, the City’s main revenue sources.
“Strong development trends will continue to support a stable financial profile going forward,” according to the credit opinion.
Along with economic development, Moody’s credited a strong and improving financial profile for the upgrade. In the review, the City received high scores for available fund balance and liquidity. It is expected the City will end the current fiscal year with general fund reserves of more than $30.4 million.
The City presented to the ratings agency ahead of the issuing of bonds for construction of a fourth fire station to better serve residents and businesses in the southwest quadrant. City Manager Bill Nicklas said the upgrade will likely save taxpayers money, and the benefits extend further.
“The rating upgrade should mean better pricing for the Fire Station #4 bonds,” said Nicklas, “but it also sends an important message to business prospects and state agencies: DeKalb is fiscally strong.”
Other factors cited by Moody’s in the upgrade were the City’s home-rule status and the presence of Northern Illinois University as an anchor of the regional economy. The credit opinion can be viewed here.
Photo: Construction continued Monday, Oct. 9 on the $400 million Kraft Heinz distribution center in the ChicagoWest Business Center in DeKalb. Moody’s Investors Services cited the more than $2 billion in larger scale economic development projects on the City’s south side as a credit strength in its opinion upgrading DeKalb’s bond rating.