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FORT WORTH, TEXAS, GENERAL PURPOSE BONDS RATED 'AA' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 FORT WORTH, TEXAS, GENERAL PURPOSE BONDS RATED 'AA' BY FITCH
 -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --
 NEW YORK, Jan. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Fort Worth, Texas's $18.1 million general purpose bonds, Series 1992 are rated 'AA' by Fitch.
 The bonds are being sold competitively Jan. 28. The rating also applies to $439.4 million in outstanding general purpose bonds and certificates of obligation. The credit trend is stable. This is the first time Fitch has been asked to rate the city's debt.
 Fort Worth is in a period of economic transition. During the prior decade, growth was dramatic, and employment shifted from a largely manufacturing base to one that remains dependent upon manufacturing but also includes other significant sectors such as services and transportation. Service jobs nearly doubled during the 1980s, while the transportation and public utilities sector rose by two-thirds. The city saw less of a downturn following the 1986 oil price drop than other areas in Texas, though the real estate decline was felt and continues to inhibit building activity.
 Most recently, the Fort Worth area has experienced dramatic manufacturing job losses, largely the result of cutbacks in federal defense contracts. Also, the closing of Carswell Air Force Base over the next two years will result in a loss of over 12,000 jobs, including civilian and related employment. Continued sizable growth in the area's services and transportation industries has offset some of the negative economic forces. Government employment growth has also been significant recently, including the U.S. Treasury Bureau of Engraving and Printing opening its first currency printing plant outside of the District of Columbia in Fort Worth. Given the city's excellent transportation network, reasonable cost of living and doing business, and land area available for development, Fort Worth is well-positioned for future growth once the national economy begins to recover.
 Throughout the 1980s and to date, Fort Worth has maintained strong financial operations. Assessed value exhibited negative growth in some years as a result of general market declines, which the city has responded to with a combination of tax rate increases and budget constraints. The general fund ran a planned operating deficit in fiscal 1991 following two years of surpluses and one break-even year. The 1991 ending fund balance was a strong 11 percent of expenditures despite the drawdown, and the city plans to maintain it at about this level. Debt service represents a high 26 percent of the budget, reflecting the debt's above-average maturity schedule as well as responsibilities taken on by the city which are done by separate entities in other Texas cities. The overall debt burden is moderate to high, and on par with that of other major Texas cities. Fort Worth plans to keep future issuance to about the level of debt maturing during year.
 -0- 1/21/92
 /CONTACT: Amy S. Doppelt of Fitch, 212-908-0514/ CO: Fort Worth, Texas ST: Texas IN: FIN SU: RTG


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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 21, 1992
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