Rating agency downgrades Surprise city bonds

Rating agency downgrades Surprise city bonds

CREATED Apr. 4, 2012

Web Producer: Alexandra Sutter

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) - A national crediting-ratings agency has downgraded the city of Surprise's bond rating after an audit discovered major financial problems.
   
The Arizona Republic (http://bit.ly/Hfvfin) reports Fitch Ratings has moved a 2003 series of bonds to A+ from AA-. The bonds were issued to help build the city's recreation campus and police and fire headquarters, among other projects.
   
Bond ratings are similar to a person's credit score. They affect a city's ability to obtain better interest rates on future bond borrowing.
   
A bond downgrade could make selling general bonds or refinancing the city's debt more expensive.
   
Surprise Mayor Sharon Wolcott said in a statement the Fitch downgrade was expected.
   
On Thursday, another bond ratings agency, Standard & Poor's, downgraded Surprise's general bond rating from AA to A. City officials said that downgrade was also an expected blow.
   
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Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com

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