A leading credit rating agency has elevated its quality rating of bonds issued by Portland, a reflection of confidence in the city’s financial management and policies, as well as an improved budget performance.

A higher credit rating helps a municipality borrow money by issuing bonds because investors can be assured the interest will be paid and the risk of defaulting is low.

“The higher our credit rating the more financial agility we’ll have,” Brendan O’Connell, finance director for the city, said in a news release Tuesday announcing the change.

The city said in the news release that Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings has raised its rating of Portland’s general obligation debt up from “AA” to “AA+.” That puts its rating on par with U.S. government bonds.

Meanwhile, Moody’s Investor Services also affirmed the city’s Aa1 rating through that agency.

Portland’s ratings are now only one step away from the highest possible for each agency, the city said.

The news comes as the city considers borrowing $64 million to renovate four elementary schools, a proposal that would require approval of the voters.

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