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MILWAUKEE COUNTY (WI)'S GO BONDS RATED 'AA-' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 NEW YORK, March 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Milwaukee County (WI)'s $54.3 million General Obligation Corporate Purpose Bonds, Series 1993A are rated 'AA-' by Fitch. The bonds will be sold competitively on April 8. The credit trend is improving.
 Milwaukee County's economic diversification has left it less vulnerable to business cycles. Nonetheless, manufacturing remains a major economic force. The Milwaukee area economy's recessionary impact was mild, the result of strong growth in nonmanufacturing sectors since the mid-1980s, and greater stability within manufacturing. Employment in the four-county Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) fell 1.1 percent during 1991 and preliminary data for last year suggest a very small gain. These results compare favorably to the severe losses experienced during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Prior to 1991, economic growth was particularly strong in the services, trade, and construction sectors. The county's employment base fared worse than the MSA as a whole, showing a 4 percent decline in 1991, led by a slightly larger loss in manufacturing. Nonetheless, the county's unemployment rate remains well below that of the state and U.S.
 The county implemented numerous fiscal reforms in response to expenditure growth that exceeded the pace of revenue increases. These reforms, including a new 0.5 percent sales tax, significant medical center rate increases, privatization of certain operations, and overall cost control, resulted in positive financial performance in 1991 and nearly break-even results in 1992. The restoration of the county's fiscal health is underway, a trend that should continue given the reforms already in place and the county's history of effective financial planning.
 The county's direct debt burden is low, and debt service after this issue will represent about 5 percent of operating expenditures. The budgetary impact is particularly significant given the county's above average retirement schedule. Including overlapping debt, ratios are moderate to high, but manageable.
 /CONTACT: Amy S. Doppelt of Fitch, 212-908-0514/


CO: ST: Wisconsin IN: SU: RTG

TM -- NY092 -- 1236 03/30/93 17:18 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 30, 1993
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