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WARREN, OHIO, $7.5 MILLION GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS RATED 'BBB+' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 WARREN, OHIO, $7.5 MILLION GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS
 RATED 'BBB+' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --
 NEW YORK, March 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Warren, Ohio's $7.5 million general obligation (limited tax) various purpose improvement bonds, Series 1992 are rated 'BBB+' by Fitch. The bonds will be sold through negotiation by National City Bank during the week of March 30. The credit trend is stable. This is the first time Fitch has been asked to rate the city's debt.
 Warren's economy has recovered from severe dislocation during the late 1970s and 1980s, and diversified as a result. Nonetheless, it remains dependent on auto and related manufacturing. Manufacturing, which once represented over one-third of total employment in the Youngstown-Warren Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), is now the second largest sector, accounting for about one-quarter of all jobs. Growth in services, trade, and finance, insurance, and real estate has offset much of the manufacturing loss. Major manufacturing employers have indicated commitment to their area facilities, though cyclical fluctuations can still be expected, as they are inherent to this manufacturing subsector.
 The city's financial operations are adequate, and the accounting and reporting are in the process of being converted to generally accepted accounting principles. The ability to balance finances despite tax and employment base fluctuations partially compensates for the economic vulnerability. An income tax, which is the major operating revenue source, has shown stability in recent years despite layoffs at some major employers. The income tax rate cannot be raised without voter approval, and the property tax rate is similarly limited. General fund operations have been about break-even, with small unencumbered year-end cash balances. Debt service is a relatively small percentage of total operating expenses.
 The tax-supported debt burden is very low despite over $20 million in new debt issuance over the last four years. Nearly half of the outstanding bonds and bond anticipation notes are for water and wastewater capital improvements, and are intended to be self-supporting from enterprise system revenue. To achieve this support, the city implemented significant rate increases for both systems.
 -0- 3/24/92
 /CONTACT: Amy S. Doppelt of Fitch, 212-908-0514/ CO: ST: Ohio IN: SU: RTG


CK -- NY063 -- 1278 03/24/92 17:22 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 24, 1992
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