Every year, the nation’s major ratings agencies examine the City’s financial picture and issue a new credit rating.
These reviews include independent evaluation of our documents, presentations by City officials, and some prognostication about our financial direction.
This year’s ratings have been good, with S&P’s report well worth your study. In raising the City’s credit rating to "A" here’s what S&P wrote:
The issuer credit rating (ICR) on St. Louis, Mo. has been raised to ‘A’ from ‘A-‘, reflecting the city’s positive economic development growth trends over the past several years. The city has made progress in reversing population declines through redevelopment efforts, which have also led to good increases in assessed valuation and financial operations.
St. Louis is the cultural, financial, health care, and educational center for 2.6 million people living in six counties in Missouri and five in Illinois. Due to out-migration to the suburbs, the city’s population decreased 12% in the 1990s to 348,189 in 2000, which was only 41% of the city’s population in 1950. Coordinated public and private improvement efforts, however, have brought a considerable amount of new investment into the downtown area in recent years and helped contribute to a reversal of the out-migration trend beginning in 2004. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city’s population began to grow after decades of decline and is estimated at 352,572 as of January 2006, a gain of roughly 4,300 over the 2000 U.S. Census. Most economic development investments have been targeted toward the convention and tourist industry, with expansions and improvements to the city’s convention center, hotels, and transportation network. Such investments have allowed the city to remain vital and retain most of its corporate citizens while restructuring itself into a service-based economy from a historically manufacturing-based economy. Other private and public efforts have lead to the completion of a number of new and redeveloped housing units both downtown and in the outer neighborhoods.
I’ll post a link to the complete report here.