Fitch Ratings has downgraded $1.5 billion of San Francisco general obligation bonds to AA-minus from AA amid dwindling reserves and rising budgetary pressure.
The agency also downgraded $1.1 billion of various city, corporation, and San Francisco Redevelopment Agency lease obligations to A-plus from AA-minus.
“Persistent and large budget gaps have been resolved year to year predominantly with one-time or temporary solutions, leaving a structural imbalance, which seems unlikely to be resolved by an economic recovery,” Fitch analyst Karen Ribble said in a report Tuesday.
Fitch also downgraded more than $60 million of the city’s corporation open-space lease revenue bonds to AA-minus from AA.
Ribble said the city’s “sizeable” retiree costs and unfunded liabilities of $4.9 billion are increasing pressure on an already-difficult budget.
Fitch said San Francisco’s outstanding debt is affordable, noting that capital needs are large, in part due to a growing need for repair and replacement of aging facilities.
However, the agency said it revised its outlook to stable from negative to reflect the city’s rising revenues due to a modest economic recovery and voter-approved tax and fee increases.