Elko New Market, in rural Scott County, is one of just two cities its size in the state to have achieved a bond rating of AA+, officials say.

The rating, by Standard & Poor’s, is one tick below the highest possible, AAA.

“It’s the equivalent of a three-step increase from the city’s last credit rating,” said city administrator Tom Terry. “It’s pretty impressive given the city was unrated seven years ago.”

Bond ratings are meant to signal to investors how safe a city’s borrowings are.

Elko New Market’s consultant estimates that the city will save $50,000 on a single $2.2 million bond issue, owing to the rating and current interest rates.

More than 250 Minnesota cities are rated by S&P, and just 28 are AA+ or higher, city officials say. Elko New Market is one of only two, they add, with populations below 5,000.

Its population was 4,110 in the 2010 census, but its median household income of nearly $90,000 is well above the metrowide figure of less than $70,000.

david peterson