Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Credit Agency Gives Anaheim a Breather

January 31, 2002|MARC BALLON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Responding to a rebound in Anaheim's tourist business, a major credit-rating agency Wednesday lifted its threat to lower the city's bond rating.

Standard & Poor's in October had placed Anaheim's "AA" general obligation bonds on "credit watch" because of the city's heavy exposure to a tourism slump after the terrorist attacks. Anaheim gets about half its revenue from hotel and sales taxes.

Although the credit watch covered only $8.2 million in general obligation bonds, a downgrade could have made future borrowing more costly.

The rating agency said Anaheim's hotel-tax revenue jumped to 89% of budgeted levels in November, after plummeting to 59% in September and 60% in October. The city's sales tax revenue, meanwhile, has met and slightly exceeded monthly projections, S&P said in a release.

Anaheim Mayor Tom Daly, in an annual speech that coincided with S&P's announcement, said the removal of the credit watch reflects the city's improved outlook. He said the city already had jettisoned its unofficial hiring freeze imposed shortly after the terrorist attacks. Daly's comments were echoed by Charles Ahlers, president of the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau. He said the convention center expects to draw 1 million to 1.1 million visitors this year, up from 960,000 in 2001.

Frederik Kluvers, general manager of the Radisson Hotel Maingate in Anaheim, said his hotel has ended the deep discounts it began offering after the attacks cut deeply into occupancy. He said his hotel's 51% occupancy in January was only three percentage points lower than last year's rate in the same month.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|