Grand Prairie’s credit rating has been raised to AAA from AA-plus by ­Standard & Poor’s in recognition of its strong municipal financial policy and central ­location in the North Texas region.

The city of almost 170,000 residents, which is located between Dallas and Fort Worth, is set to issue $22.4 million of revenue and general obligation bonds for its water utility system.

“The upgrade reflects the system’s healthy financial position, which we ­believe will be sustainable given ­management’s strong financial policies and the system’s limited additional capital needs,” said analyst Theodore ­Chapman.

Grand Prairie’s credit is rated AA-plus by Fitch Ratings and Aa3 by Moody’s Investors Service.

Grand Prairie ended fiscal 2009 with an unreserved general fund balance of $29.8 million, which was 36% of operating expenditures. The city posted an operational surplus of $1 million in fiscal 2010 and expects a $600,000 surplus in fiscal 2011.

Assessed property valuations in the city fell to $9.6 billion in fiscal 2010, down almost 2% from fiscal 2009, and to $9.3 billion in fiscal 2011. Grand Prairie has maintained a property tax rate of $6.70 per $1,000 of assessed valuation since fiscal 2007.

City officials have identified more than $120 million of capital projects to be financed with GO debt. Grand Prairie plans to issue an additional $8 million in fiscal 2011, $6 million in 2012, $6 million in 2013, $8.8 million in 2014, and $91 ­million in 2015 and beyond.

Grand Prairie has around $190 million of outstanding GO bonds.

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