Bond agency awards PCC high rating - Tucson News Now

Bond agency awards PCC with high rating

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A bond agency that determines Pima Community College's creditworthiness awarded the school the second highest rating award.

Moody's Investor Service affirmed the college's Aa1 designation, conveying buoyancy in its credit merit.

Additionally, Moody's cited the college's strong financial base that supports its history of "conservative fiscal practices," and noted that it is backed by Pima County's stable economy.

"The Moody's rating report is clear confirmation that PCC has been and will continue to be a prudent steward of public funds," Executive Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Dr. David Bea said.

Moody's is one of three major bond rating firms that issue reports on the creditworthiness of governmental and commercial entities, according to a news release.

Moody's recognized that the PCC was put on probation by the Higher Learning Commission, and the firm responded with a note that if the college's administrative and governance deficiencies are resolved and the financial position remains stable or improves within the next two years, the negative outlook is likely to be removed.

"The College is completely focused on addressing the concerns raised by the HLC, and is confident it will regain the complete confidence of the HLC and the public," Dr. Bea said. "By Moody's adding the negative outlook to the rating, it draws appropriate attention to the importance of our accreditation status."

Moody's said that PCC's "outstanding $3.3 million of general obligation debt represents a minimal 0.005% of full value (2014) and is scheduled to mature in 2015," and viewed its debt outlook as favorable because the College has no plans to issue debt in the near future.

"We have worked hard during the financial crisis over the past number of years to decrease our debt and create sustainable budgets while weathering large reductions in state appropriations and decreasing property tax valuations," Dr. Bea said. "Moody's Aa1 designation is one result of our efforts. Another is something that impacts each of our students: our success in making sure that Pima's tuition remains as low as possible.

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