Metro Parks Tacoma gets high marks for financial health


The two major bond rating agencies, Moody’s Investor Service and S & P Global, recently assigned similar, high ratings to Metro Parks Tacoma’s latest bond issue. 

Board of Park Commissioners President Andrea Smith, a banker in her day job, said a solid credit rating is one of the important indicators of a healthy organization.

 “Just like a personal credit score, a good credit rating reflects how much an organization is financially strong and secure,” she said. “Metro Parks’ strong ratings are a boost in confidence.”

 The Park Board, which governs the park district, on April 23 approved the sale of up to $50 million in general obligation bonds, the third issue resulting from voters’ April 2014 authorization of $198 million in borrowing for capital projects.

In preparation for the bond sale, the rating agencies reviewed Metro Parks’ creditworthiness and found it to be consistent with each of their past ratings of Metro Parks bonds. S & P rated the 2018 bond issue AA, the agency’s second highest, meaning that the likelihood of Metro Parks’ ability to pay its debt is very strong. Similarly, Moody’s rated the 2018 issue Aa2, also essentially a second-tier rating.

These consistently positive ratings bode well for the agency’s financial sustainability, making it easier to sell the bonds at relatively low-interest rates. Among the many projects being financed throughout the park district are Eastside Community Center and improvements at Point Defiance Park.

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