Park District Maintains Aaa Rating Status

May 22, 2024

Moody’s Ratings (Moody’s) has assigned a Aaa to the Park District of Highland Park, IL’s General Obligation Limited Tax Park Bonds, Series 2024 with a proposed par amount of $6.4 million. Moody’s maintains the district’s Aaa issuer rating and the Aaa rating on the district’s outstanding general obligation limited tax (GOLT) debt. Following the sale, the district will have about $33 million of debt outstanding.

RATINGS RATIONALE
The Aaa issuer rating reflects a large and affluent tax base that benefits from its location near Chicago. The district’s financial position will likely remain strong, supported by growing property tax revenue, sustained increases in program participation, and prudent budget management. Unaudited fiscal 2023 (year-end Dec. 31) results show an increase in fund balance following transfers to a capital project fund and year to date results for fiscal 2024 show mostly stable operations. The district’s long-term leverage will remain modest with no additional debt plans over the next two years.

The Aaa rating on the GOLT bonds is the same as the district’s Aaa issuer rating because of its pledge of all available funds to pay debt service and authority to levy an ad valorem tax that is unlimited as to rate but limited in amount by the district debt service extension base (DSEB).

RATING OUTLOOK
Moody’s typically does not assign outlooks to local governments with this amount of debt.

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO AN UPGRADE OF THE RATING

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO A DOWNGRADE OF THE RATING

LEGAL SECURITY
The district’s GOLT bonds are backed by an all available funds pledge of the district and its authority to levy ad valorem property taxes unlimited as to rate but limited by the amount of the district’s Debt Service Extension Base.

USE OF PROCEEDS
Proceeds will fund various facility improvements across the park district’s facilities.

PROFILE
The Park District of Highland Park encompasses the City of Highland Park (Aaa stable) and a small portion of the Village of Deerfield (Aaa stable) and is located about 26 miles north of the City of Chicago (Baa3 positive). The district provides various recreational services to over 30,000 residents.