|April 23, 2012 - In a recent report by Fitch Ratings, a global rating agency, the City of Knoxville has been given the top bond rating of "AAA." This outstanding ranking reaffirms last year's equally impressive score for the City. The key rating drivers for Fitch's positive report are a sound and established economic underpinning, high and consistent reserves, and affordable debt burden.
The Fitch report also cited a broad and stable employment base as a contributing factor for the City's favorable financial position. Knoxville has experienced a recent increase in employment, lowering the unemployment rate to 7.1%, well below that of the state and nation - according to Fitch. The agency reasoned that recent investments in alternative energy sources coupled with technology transfer trends may also spur additional employment in the energy sector.
Another recent report, released by rating agency Moody's Investors Services, reaffirmed the City's high bond rating of "Aa1" with a stable outlook. The report listed Knoxville's primary financial strengths as a "large, regionally important tax base and economy" and "solid financial reserves and prudent fiscal management."
In addition, a report by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services reaffirmed the City's AA+ rating. Those ratings reflect the diverse and stable regional economic base and the City's "strong financial performance, coupled with very strong reserve levels."
"These reports are confirmation that the City of Knoxville is continuing to move in the right direction," Mayor Madeline Rogero said. "Our high bond ratings are a reflection of the City's strong financial management program and a clear message that Knoxville is a great place to do business."
For more information on the Fitch bond ratings, please visit http://www.cityofknoxville.org/finance/Fitch2012.pdf .