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North Las Vegas credit rating continues gradual rise

North Las Vegas got a bump in its credit rating, which could potentially help the city save millions of dollars on bonds to pay for new projects, officials said Wednesday.

The city is now rated BB+ with a stable outlook, up from BB-, according to an updated analysis released last month by S&P Global Ratings. North Las Vegas bonds fell to junk status during the recession, but have gradually increased over the last few years.

“Strong economic activity in the past several years continues to fuel the steady revenue growth, contributing to the recently stabilized operations,” S&P Global wrote about the city’s creditworthiness.

“The stable outlook reflects our view of the city’s positive operations recently, supported by two consecutive audited years of surpluses and an increase in available reserves,” the agency wrote. “We do not expect to change the rating in the two-year outlook horizon.”

S&P Global warned that the credit rating may be lowered if North Las Vegas’ budget reserves take another dramatic dip. However, the rating could go up if the city “maintains positive performance trends, expands budgetary flexibility and establishes what we view as a sustainable and structurally balanced budget.”

Over the past four years, the City Council has reduced North Las Vegas’ long-term deficit from $172 million to $23 million. It was unclear how much more that deficit might be reduced during the 2017-18 fiscal year that begins July 1.

“We have done a tremendous amount of work to turn North Las Vegas around, and our progress is being recognized by Wall Street,” Mayor John Lee said.

Contact Art Marroquin at amarroquin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Find @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter.

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