Standard & Poor's upgraded two Washington cities to AA-minus based on the application of its recently released local general obligation criteria.

Centralia, Wash.'s limited-tax general obligation bonds were upgraded to AA-minus from A-plus, with a stable outlook.

The outlook reflects the agency's view of the city's very strong budgetary flexibility on a cash basis and consistent financial performance, which is supported by strong management, according to Standard & Poor's credit analyst Chris Morgan.

Centralia is located in Lewis County, Wash., 88 miles southwest of Seattle.

Standard & Poor's also upgraded Kent's GO bonds to AA-minus from A-plus, with a stable outlook. In addition, the agency raised the rating on Kent Special Events Center Public Facilities District's 2008 revenue and sales tax bonds to AA-minus from A-plus, since the city has provided credit enhancement under a contingent loan and support agreement.

"The stable outlook reflects our view of the city's ability to adjust expenditures and enhance revenue so as to improve its budgetary performance in fiscal 2013 and thus achieve what we consider an adequate budgetary flexibility," Morgan wrote in the report.

Kent, 19 miles south of Seattle, is the sixth largest city in the state.

Standard & Poor's assigned the new ratings on Dec. 2. The agency's new local GO criteria was published Sept. 12 and aims to improve transparency, and make the criteria more in-depth, detailed, and forward looking, according to Standard & Poor's.

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