EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Paso taxpayers could see lower interest rates on bond projects as the City of El Paso’s bond rating has been improved.

City Manager Tommy Gonzalez, whose contract with the City of El Paso is ending June 30, says the city has been playing catchup.

“A lot of neglect took place for so many years and so now we’ve been playing catchup with that, and so when you place more investments in our community, like more bonds, then if you get a lower interest rate, then you could potentially save hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said that savings could be in the millions over a 20- or 30-year period.

“This could potentially give us the ability to lower interest rates by 10 basis points or 15 basis points,” said Robert Cortinas, the chief financial officer for the City.

El Paso’s bond rating went from and AA to an AA+, according to Kroll Bond Rating Agency.

According to Reuters, Kroll paid $2 million, mainly in fines, to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission civil charges that some of its practices were inadequate to ensure its ratings would be accurate.

Gonzalez says the rating hasn’t gone up since the 1990s. He credits the city for having strong audit findings and a large “rainy day fund.”

“To go from 21 external audit findings to no findings for seven years in a row to be able to go from nine days in the rainy day fund to go to 91 days… The standard when you look at cities that have good ratings, they have at least 90 days in their rainy-day fund. We only had nine in 2014 so that’s significant,” Gonzalez said.

University of Texas at El Paso Professor of Economics Tom Fullerton says the local economy has been performing well in recent years which has helped the financial state of the city.

“Remember one of the outcomes of the 2008 financial crisis was sharply higher municipal bond rates for the entire country, not just El Paso,” Fullerton said.

He added that there is a lot of economic uncertainty currently in the United States.

“Just like the pendulum can swing in the favor of good bond ratings, the external environment can also swing in the opposite direction and there’s no way to rule out the type of things that emerged after 2008 and 2009. Those may happen again,” Fullerton said.