TAMPA — For the third time in three years, a major bond rating agency has upgraded its assessment of the city of Tampa's credit.
Standard & Poor's on Friday raised its rating on what's considered to be the city's general credit rating from AA+ to AAA, its highest rating for municipalities.
"We view the city's management conditions as very strong, with strong financial practices," Standard & Poor's wrote in a five-page report on the decision.
Coming out of the recession, the agency wrote, Tampa has a strong economy. Moreover, it said City Hall has built up healthy reserves, demonstrates budgetary flexibility and is in a good position to cover its debt and expenses with current assets.
A higher rating allows the city to hold down costs by borrowing money at lower interest rates. City officials welcomed the higher grade as a vote of confidence in the "tough choices" they made to balance the budget while investing in projects that will benefit the city for decades.
"Tampa's future growth and success depend on continued economic stability at City Hall," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said in a statement accompanying the announcement.
In July, Fitch Ratings raised its rating on Tampa's water and sewer bonds from "AA+"' to "AAA." The city also got an earlier upgrade on its water and sewer bonds from Standard & Poors in 2011.
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