Moody's Investors Service has assigned a Aa1 rating to the city of Grove City's planned $13.2 million general obligation bond financing.

Moody's, a leading provider of credit ratings, research and risk analysis, gave the Aa1 rating, the second-highest possible ranking, which "reflects Grove City's strong financial position and economic stability," according to Moody's announcement detailing its report.

"It's a testimony to the conservative fiscal management we've had for many years in our city," Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage said.

"Moody's reviews your finances in a very meticulous way," he said.

"It's a good reality check for a third party to look at how well we're managing our revenue."

Grove City is planning to issue the first $8 million bond by the end of September, finance director Mike Turner said.

"We'll be issuing that first bond to retire the remaining portion of the bond we issued in 2009 to fund the project to widen and improve state Route 665," he said.

About $5.5 million of that bond will be for retiring it at a lower interest rate, which will save about $1.3 million, Turner said.

The rest of the $8 million bond will be used to fund improvements to Seeds Road from South Meadows Drive to Enterprise Parkway, he said. That project, which will widen the road, is expected to begin later this year.

A second bond, for $5 million, will be issued at a date to be determined to provide the city's share of the $19 million in public infrastructure work needed for the first phase of the Beulah Park project, Turner said.

The state of Ohio will provide $9 million in bonds to help fund the public infrastructure work and the developer will provide the remaining $5 million.

Moody's rating indicates the agency has "a high level of confidence" in Grove City's financial position, Stage said.

"They noted the two new hospitals we've opened over the last year and that we still have a robust incline in our income tax collection," he said.

The Aa1 rating places Grove City among the top 15% of all cities, school districts and counties in Ohio.

The most recent available chart, from 2015, shows 14% of Ohio cities had earned a Aa1 rating from Moody's and 7% received the top Aaa rating, Turner said.

"There's been very little movement in those numbers since then," he said. "The basic percentages remain about the same."

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