- Associated Press - Friday, June 12, 2015

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AP) - North Las Vegas officials are pointing to a credit rating agency’s decision to raise the city bond rating as a key marker in an ongoing turnaround from near-insolvency.

Moody’s Investors Service reported Thursday that it upgraded the city’s rating from Ba3 to Ba2, citing relative financial stability, cost-cutting and the city’s adoption of a balanced budget.

Moody’s also noted the city of more than 226,000 people that sits adjacent to Las Vegas has also benefited from general improvements to the Las Vegas-area economy since the Great Recession.

“Wall Street is saying they like the new management and the direction the city is going. They’re looking at how we’re keeping costs down,” said Ryann Juden, city government affairs liaison. “In just two years, we’ve taken it from a dropping bond rating to turning the ship around and raising it one notch. It demonstrates that while some of the things we’ve done have not been popular with people in City Hall, they’ve been effective.”

That rating still indicates the city’s debt is a substantial credit risk.

The credit rating agency warns in its report that the city remains heavily reliant on funds from its water and sewer utility to support the city’s general fund. The report points out the uncommonly large transfers are legally allowed through 2021. Moody’s also says upcoming union negotiations in the next two years could increase operating costs.

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The story has been clarified to explain that the city’s ranking still indicates its credit risk is substantial.

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