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Fitch upgrades Buffalo’s bond rating to “AA-”
Fitch Ratings has upgraded the City of Buffalo’s bond rating to “AA-” in its latest rating report, the highest rating the city has received from the agency.
“We are thrilled to be in the ‘Double A’ category with Fitch,” said Buffalo Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder. “This is the first upgrade we have received from Fitch since it started rating the city in 2010.”
The “AA-” rating is one notch higher than the “A+” Buffalo received from Fitch in April, and is currently the city’s highest rating. Standard & Poor’s upgraded the city to an “A+” rating in 2014, while Moody’s upgraded Buffalo to “A1” in 2012.
“All three of the major rating agencies have upgraded the city in the brief time that I’ve been comptroller,” said Schroeder, who took office in 2012. “That shows that Wall Street has taken notice of the progress Buffalo has made, both in managing its finances and building its economy.”
Schroeder took analysts from Fitch on a tour of Buffalo last year in an effort to showcase the city’s economic development projects. The tour included stops at the SolarCity site, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Larkinville, Canalside, the Outer Harbor, and the Buffalo River. Schroeder gave analysts from Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s similar tours in prior years.
Schroeder said he works closely with officials from Mayor Byron W. Brown’s administration to make the case for an upgrade every time a new rating report is expected. The two offices recently participated in a conference call with analysts from Fitch to update them on the city’s finances and recent economic news.
“This exciting improvement to an ‘AA-,’ the City of Buffalo’s highest rating in decades, recognizes my administration’s twelve years of prudent fiscal management and disciplined budgeting,” said Brown. “The higher Fitch rating keeps us on a steady financial path that has earned us ‘Straight As’ from the Big Three bond rating agencies and puts us in a prime position to continue our record pace of economic development.”
Schroeder said Buffalo’s higher rating with Fitch will help the City get lower interest rates when he goes to the bond market next spring to finance the city’s capital projects.
“We sell our bonds in a competitive bidding process,” said Schroeder. “Better ratings mean lower interest costs for taxpayers.”
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Photos by Angel Art LTP, compliments of the Greater Buffalo Convention and Visitors Bureau. Additional photos by Adrian Roselli, compliments of Algonquin Studios