BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Two key municipal bond rating agencies – Moody’s Investor Service and Standard & Poor’s – have both given the city of Bridgeport high marks, Mayor Joe Ganim announced last week.
The agencies gave Bridgeport an “A” rating for its General Obligation bonds about to go to market, while also reaffirming an “A” for the underlying long-term rating to the city’s current GO bond debt.
In its report to the city, Moody’s said its A2 rating reflects a “strong management team … a stable but narrow financial position … the rating takes into account a large and diverse tax base with favorable development prospects.”
Moody’s also cited the aggressive financial plan enacted by the Ganim administration in December 2015 to erase a $20 million deficit inherited halfway through fiscal year 2016 that included cost-cutting measures such as layoffs, refinancing of debt, spending freezes, and revenue enhancements such as one-time property sales.
“This very solid bond rating for Bridgeport will bolster all the steps we have taken to stabilize the city’s finances, and puts us in a fortified position as we go to market to fund much-needed capital investments,” said Ganim. “What these two rating agencies confirm is that while fiscal challenges remain, the city of Bridgeport is a safe bet for investors as long as we continue to have sound management practices in place. We must continue to be aggressive about conserving spending, meeting our pension obligations, balancing the budget, and building up our financial reserves.
"These disciplined short-term steps will reduce our borrowing costs and save our city millions for years to come, while at the same time funding badly needed improvements that will improve our community’s quality of life.”
In its bond rating report, S&P cited Bridgeport’s adequate management environment, budgetary performance, and liquidity, and reported that future credit ratings could be higher “if the city were to significantly improve its budgetary flexibility and liquidity due to operational surpluses.”
Ganim recently announced that he expects an audit to show that the city ended Fiscal Year 2016 on June 30 with a surplus of $600,000 and is expected to end the current fiscal year 2017 with a balanced budget.
The announcement of Moody’s and S&P reinstating solid “A” bond ratings for Bridgeport comes as welcome news. Both agencies recently downgraded bond ratings in other Connecticut cities.
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