New Orleans’ credit rating has bounced back and surpassed its pre-Hurricane Katrina levels, with all three major rating agencies recently boosting their assessments of the city’s finances.
The improvements are led by a rating upgrade from Standard & Poor’s, which gave the city an A- rating, up from its previous status of BBB+, and listed a positive outlook for the city’s finances.
A- is the agency’s seventh-highest rating.
“This is monumental news for the city of New Orleans and one of the strongest validations yet of the progress we have made in restructuring, rebuilding and reviving the city’s finances,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement. “When we took office about five years ago, our administration faced a $97 million budget gap, and we immediately got to work turning deficits into surpluses.”
The improvements in the city’s rating follow recent budget surpluses.
The S&P ratings upgrade is the third for the city since 2007, when the agency listed the city’s debt as “speculative,” and the second during Landrieu’s tenure in office. The other agencies have boosted their ratings as well during that time.
The improved credit ratings are expected to mean the city will be able to secure a better interest rate on $65 million in bonds it plans to issue this month to pay for road improvements.