S&P Raises Norfolk’s Credit Rating to AAA
First time in the city’s history to receive highest possible rating
NORFOLK, VA – For the first time in its history, Norfolk has received the highest possible credit rating. Today, Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings (“S&P”) raised Norfolk’s credit rating to AAA on its long-term General Obligation Bonds. This upgrade makes Norfolk one of just 16 municipalities in Virginia with this highest credit rating from S&P.
S&P highlighted that the higher rating reflects Norfolk’s “strong economy,” its “very strong management, with strong financial policies and practices” and “very strong budgetary flexibility, strong budgetary performance, as well as very strong liquidity.” S&P noted that the City’s proactive management of its environmental, social, and governance risks are integrated in Norfolk practices and long-term planning. S&P applauded the City’s resiliency efforts to address sustainability, climate change and sea level risk in its long-term financial and capital planning efforts and its development regulations, while leveraging its strategic location and importance. S&P further noted the City has committed to improving the economic power of its residents through several different programs, which over time may bolster economic metrics. S&P particularly highlighted the City’s work towards redeveloping the St. Paul’s neighborhood and transitioning current low-income housing to mixed-income housing. S&P did note Norfolk’s weak, but manageable debt and contingent liability profile and the slight expansion of the City’s debt metrics.
This AAA rating affirms the City’s financial strength. Perhaps more importantly, the upgrade reflects the accomplishments the City Council and management have made over the years to strengthen the City’s financial position. The rating also reflects the strategic capital and economic development investments in the community that have continued to pay dividends. This highest credit rating will assist the City in maintaining low cost of funds to finance strategic capital projects throughout the City.