OREANDA-NEWS. S&P Global Ratings lowered its long-term and underlying (SPUR) rating to 'BB+' from 'BBB+' on Howard Bend Levee District, Mo.'s series 2013A levee district improvement bonds, 2013B levee district refunding bonds, and 2005 levee district refunding and improvement bonds. At the same time, we lowered our long-term rating to 'BB' from 'BBB' on the district's series 2013C levee district improvement bonds (Creve Coeur Airport subarea bonds) and series 2007 levee district improvement bonds (water/sewer subarea bonds). We have removed all ratings from CreditWatch, where they were placed with negative implications on April 20, 2016. The outlook is stable.

We had placed the ratings on CreditWatch with negative implications following the discovery of an error in the application of our criteria. The error was in relation to not applying stress tests as required by our special-purpose districts criteria, published June 14, 2007 on RatingsDirect. At bond issuance and in subsequent reviews, we determined that the inherent flexibilities in the levy allowed the district to pass certain sensitivity analyses without performing the stress tests. After further clarification, we determined that levy limitations may result in the sensitivity analyses' not always being passed.

"The rating action reflects significant weaknesses under the key sensitivity analyses of our criteria, which center on the district's highly concentrated tax base and largely undeveloped nature," said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Benjamin Gallovic.

The stable outlook reflects our anticipation that the district will have limited additional debt needs while maintaining good value-to-lien ratios.