City of Round Rock’s AAA bond rating reaffirmed by S&P Global

S&P Global rated all of the City of Round Rock’s most recent property tax-backed debt issuances with an AAA long-term rating, the highest possible, citing the City’s “very strong” management, budgetary flexibility and economy. 

S&P Global affirmed the rating in April, which will result in significant interest savings in a series of debt issuances approved by the Round Rock City Council on Thursday, April 25 for transportation projects, voter-approved public safety and parks and recreation projects, fleet purchases and public works facility expansions. 

Round Rock plans to issue $20 million in general obligation (GO) bonds, approved by voters in the May 2023 election, to finance parks and recreation as well as public safety projects. Additionally, City Council voted to issue $20 million in certificates of obligation (COs) for road projects and the expansion of the Bob Bennett public works complex located at 3400 Sunrise Road, and $8 million in series 2024 limited-tax notes for purchasing vehicles and equipment. 

The City’s AAA rating saves the City approximately $875,000 in interest payments in its most recent bond issuance versus if the City had the lower AA rating, based on recent comparable bond issuances, said Garry Kimball of Specialized Public Finance, the City’s financial advisor. 

In its credit overview, S&P Global cited Round Rock’s access to Austin, multiple colleges and high-tech industries, and a large, educated workforce that remains attractive to businesses and individuals alike, resulting in ongoing economic growth. 

The S&P analysis also cited the City’s “robust management policies and practices,” which include the City’s historical trend analysis, regular budget-to-actual updates provided to the City Council, and the City’s five-year rolling capital plan that identifies projects and funding sources. 

“Round Rock has historically used operating surpluses and excess reserves to fund additional discretionary transfers and large one-time capital expenditures that would otherwise be funded with debt,” the report reads. “These discretionary transfers provide the city with supplementary flexibility in the budget and can be reduced or eliminated should there be any budgetary stress.” 

The report continues: “Despite growth-related pressures and continued need to expand services, we believe Round Rock’s strong management practices will aid it in maintaining stable operating performance and very strong reserves that will provide flexibility against potential volatility in sales taxes stemming largely from its exposure to its largest corporate presence, Dell Inc.” 

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