Standard & Poor's Corp. last week gave the Chicago Park District a vote of confidence after two recent audits projected deficits in the district's bond and corporate funds.
In a press release, the rating agency said that it believes the district's long-term financial health "will remain intact and that its capital projects fund will continue to be maintained in good financial condition."
The audit results released late last month showed a $44 million shortfall in the district's bond-financed capital program. While $60 million of general obligation bonds issued by the district in February was supposed to cover capital projects for fiscal 1993, which began Jan. 1, and fiscal 1994, auditors found that an additional $44 million was needed to complete the scheduled projects.
The audits also uncovered a $3 million to $10 million deficit in the district's $159 million fiscal 1993 corporate account.
In conjunction with the release of the audit findings, Forrest Claypool, who took over as the district's general superintendent in July, laid off workers and froze capital projects.
Standard & Poor's said it is "concerned about the district's financial deterioration in fiscal 1992, but is encouraged by the swift reaction of the new management team." The rating agency also said it will be monitoring "the situation closely to ensure that the district's financial position is maintained, and that capital spending controls are quickly implemented."
Claypool said on Friday that he is happy the rating agency recognized "the swift and severe" corrective action that was taken to address the problems identified in the audits. Claypool said that the fiscal 1994 budget he plans to propose Nov. 1 will contain additional budget cuts.
Standard & Poor's rates $278 million of the district's GO debt AA-minus.