DALLAS -- Fishers is trying to spread the word of its status as Indiana's only city with a triple-A rating from S&P Global Ratings.
Fishers has issued more than $44 million of general obligation bonds since earning the top grade in May in an upgrade from AA-plus. Officials say they have seen savings but want to highlight the city's status to develop broader investor appeal and further lower its borrowing costs.
City Controller Oscar Gutierrez said that the city has been " pretty happy" with recent bond pricing but thinks it can do better.
"The problem with our AAA is that it's new," said Gutierrez. "Not a lot of people are aware that we are a AAA community in Indiana and we haven't had a chance to truly market ourselves."
Fishers is about 20 miles northeast of downtown Indianapolis in Hamilton County, and has an estimated population of 86,747. City officials project the population will grow to more than 110,000 by 2030.
The city said saved $550,000 on interest for each of its bond lease rental revenue bonds issued after it earned it upgrade in May. The Series 2016A $11.8 million lease revenue bonds issued in June and the $11 million Series 2016B lease rental revenue bonds both funded road improvements.
Gutierrez believes Fishers could save the city an extra 10 to 20 basis points on upcoming transactions.
"We were able to see the difference in pricing for a well-established triple-A credit when our 2016B issue sold the same day as Indiana University's $65 million bond issue, which is a an established triple-A credit," he said.
The spread difference between the established triple-A credit and Fishers AAA bonds ranged from 16 basis points to 31 basis points.
"We think getting our story out could get us help us fully capture the value of our AAA rating as well as expose us to buyers that target AAA credits," Gutierrez said. "Getting our story out helps to establish us as a well-known AAA rated municipality and draws the attention of buyers who would not look to Indiana municipalities for a AAA credit."
Savings will come in handy as the city looks to fund several infrastructure projects and anticipates issuing about $20 million in tax-supported debt within the next year, according to S&P.
Up next is a $1 million general obligation sale for Fisher's road resurfacing program slated to price in November. The city has also planned $7 million of county option income tax revenue bonds that would pay off an existing bond anticipation note for a downtown redevelopment project that is expected to price this month
In upgrading the credit, S&P said that the city's population increase, strong economy and strong budgetary performance factored in the decision.
In fiscal 2015 it reported an available fund balance of $18.4 million. S&P said it expected the balance to remain above 30% of expenditure for the current and next fiscal years. The city has a total of $235 million in debt outstanding.