By Dawn Krebs
PORT ST. LUCIE - Despite everything that has happened in Port St. Lucie recently, from the collapse of Digital Domain to the slow economy, a recent investor report showed the city's bonds earned favorable ratings.
"The rating includes bonds that were sold to finance construction of the Digital Domain facility and were issued after the company filed for bankruptcy protection last month," said Ed Cunningham, communications director for the city.
The report, written by Moody's analysts, shows that an Aa3 rating was given to the city's special assessment refunding bonds that were issued within the Tesoro special assessment district, and were worth $14.9 million.
According to Moody's investor services, an Aa rating means the bonds are judged to be of high quality and are subject to very low credit risk.
Other bonds in the city that received similar ratings included the $40.2 million of outstanding certificates of participation, the $64 million of non-ad valorem backed research facility lease revenue bonds and the $30.8 million on the non-ad valorem backed special assessment on the city center, where the civic center is located.
"This report indicates the outlooks are stable, and tells investors that the city can be relied on to pay its debts," he said.
The report also detailed the affect the bankruptcy of Digital Domain had on the investment company's report.
"The city has stated it will continue to make scheduled debt service payments, if necessary, avoiding any draws on the debt service reserve fund."
The report also noted the city produced its first operating surplus in three years in fiscal 2011.
It credited the surplus with the city's ability to realign its expenditures with the lower revenue base by a 21 percent reduction in full-time positions over the last several years, as well as managing vacant positions and a savings in health insurance costs.
"The growth in reserves is attributable to savings from a recent consolidation of a number of departments and additional health care savings," the report stated.