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Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings Affirm the City of West Hollywood’s Stable Outlook and Assign Highest-Possible Ratings

Post Date:May 27, 2020 6:43 PM

Generic Update - COVID19 (Square)The City of West Hollywood has received highest-possible ratings and has been reaffirmed with a Stable Outlook according to credit rating agencies Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings, which recently reviewed the City’s Lease Revenue Bonds (LRBs) and overall financial operations. Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings have each rated West Hollywood Public Financing Authority Lease Revenue Bonds at AA+ and have each affirmed the City’s Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at AAA. These ratings allow the City to access some of the lowest interest rates available in the market and these ratings also make the City’s bonds very popular with investors.

Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings comprise two of the “big three” nationally recognized statistical rating organizations designated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. These agencies are currently reviewing the ratings of local governments that have above-average exposure to certain economically sensitive revenues, including taxes on tourism, retail sales, and certain other discretionary activity, in the face of the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

“The City of West Hollywood has extremely sound fiscal management policies,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey P. Horvath. “I’m incredibly proud of our staff, who have helped our City achieve these highest possible ratings. Our City’s financial position is especially vital as we navigate the challenges posed by the pandemic-related economic downturn. We have been working to determine and adjust to the financial impacts to the City’s general fund and to the many impacted businesses and nonprofits in our community. I am confident that we’re going to fiscally weather the current storm. Our stable economic outlook will allow us to continue to be strong for our community members, our businesses, and our nonprofit partners that may be negatively impacted by the impacts of the coronavirus crisis.”

According to Fitch Ratings: “West Hollywood’s ‘AAA’ IDR [Issuer Default Rating] reflects the city’s extraordinarily high reserve levels, strong long-term revenue growth prospects, ample expenditure flexibility, and low-to-moderate long-term liability burden. The Stable Outlook reflects Fitch’s expectation that the city will maintain sufficient reserves to support its ‘aaa’ financial resilience assessment through the current downturn.” … “In percentage terms, West Hollywood had the strongest reserve position among Fitch-rated California cities.” Additional information is available by visiting www.fitchratings.com/research/us-public-finance/fitch-rates-west-hollywood-pfa-ca-2020-lrbs-at-aa-outlook-stable-21-05-2020

According to S&P Global Ratings: “The Stable Outlook reflects our view of the city’s very strong reserve levels and its historical ability to attract tourists, shoppers, and business travelers even in the midst of prior major downturns. While the current pandemic presents a new challenge for the local economy given social distancing guidelines, we anticipate the transient leisure travel will return more quickly than corporate or group travel once shelter-in-place orders are lifted.” 

The City of West Hollywood has consistently received high marks for sound general and fiscal management policies. The City, with its diverse revenue base, recovered more quickly from the 2008 recession than most cities in the nation and receives top ratings from agencies. For more than two decades, the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has consistently awarded the City of West Hollywood with a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting and an Award of Financial Reporting Achievement for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), which is a set of detailed financial statements accompanied by a thorough presentation of the City’s financial condition.

For additional information about the City of West Hollywood’s budget, please visit www.weho.org/budget, or access the Open Budget data portal at budget.weho.org.

The City of West Hollywood has declared a local emergency in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and is advising community members to adhere to Los Angeles County Safer at Home orders. The City urges people to stay in place, maintain your space, and cover your face. Always use social distancing of at least six feet and follow City requirements to use face coverings while in public. Public Health officials recommend cloth face coverings such as bandanas or scarves; medical masks are permitted, but officials note these should be prioritized for health professionals in order to ensure supply.

West Hollywood City Hall is currently closed to the public and has suspended all in-person transactions. Most public City buildings, playgrounds, parks, dog parks, and facilities are closed. City Hall will remain accessible for business and essential services with transactions to be conducted by phone (323) 848-6400 and via the City’s website at www.weho.org.

The City of West Hollywood coronavirus updates are available at www.weho.org/coronavirus and the City encourages community members to follow @wehocity on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and turn on notifications for up-to-date information regarding details in the City of West Hollywood.

To view essential-business City meetings, tune in to WeHoTV at:

For notifications by email, subscribe to the City’s E-Notifications at www.weho.org/email. Visit the City’s event and meetings calendar at www.weho.org/calendar and news archive at www.weho.org/news. To receive urgent updates to your phone by text and to your email, text your ZIP code to 888-777.

For updates and information about the current numbers of COVID-19 cases in the United States and in Los Angeles County, the spread of the virus, severity, treatments, precautions, and other important public health information in multiple languages, please visit websites for:

For reporters and members of the media seeking additional information about COVID-19 in Los Angeles County, please contact the LA County Department of Public Health Chief Communications Officer, Carl A. Kemp, at (213) 240-8144 or media@ph.lacounty.gov

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s ratings or financial operations, please contact Lorena Quijano, Director of Finance and Technology Services, at (323) 848-6513 or David A. Wilson, Assistant City Manager, at (323) 848-6524.

For reporters and members of the media seeking additional information about the City of West Hollywood, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Public Information Officer, Sheri A. Lunn, at (323) 848-6391 or slunn@weho.org.

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