In addition, Fitch affirmed Pawtucket’s Issuer Default Rating at ‘A-’ and gave the City a Stable Rating Outlook
Pawtucket, – Mayor Donald R. Grebien announced that Fitch Ratings has assigned the City of Pawtucket an ‘A+’ rating on its General Obligation (GO) Bonds, an ‘A-’ rating on its Issuer Default Rating (IDR), and a Stable Outlook. The results come after a thorough review of the City’s financial and managerial operations by the rating agency earlier this month in connection with Fitch’s annual surveillance review of Pawtucket. The ratings are expected to continue resulting in a lower cost of borrowing for the City on future debt.
According to Fitch, “The city has achieved positive operations in both the general and school funds after a period of managing the accumulated deficit in the school fund. Management's willingness and ability to raise revenues and reduce expenses underscores the city's financial flexibility. A notable pension liability in two of the city's pension plans coupled with a hefty other post-employment benefits (OPEB) liability offsets the low debt burden.”
“It is encouraging to have an outside agency Fitch Ratings, one of the Big Three credit rating agencies, reaffirm the real progress that we continue to make here in our city,” said Mayor Donald R. Grebien. “Fiscal responsibility has been a staple of my administration since inheriting this City on the brink of bankruptcy when I first came on as Mayor. These results could not have been achieved for the taxpayers if it weren’t for the hard work and commitment of the City Council and the Pawtucket School Department. I thank my Finance Director Joanna L’Heureux and her department as well for all of their efforts in insuring the financial health of our City.”
Finance Director L’Heureux said, “Our A category rating factors in the City’s steady management principles, improved fiscal health and the elimination deficits on the school side with continuing balanced budgets.”
“While the City’s financial progress has been acknowledged by Fitch, we know that there is still plenty of work to be done as we focus on the long-term fiscal health of the City,” said Mayor Grebien. “We always take a conservative approach to debt and, along with the Council, will continue to build up our reserves to protect our taxpayers if the City ever faces an economic downturn in the future.”
The Fitch report notes that “Residents approved bond authorizations of $25 million for city capital improvements this month in addition to $220 million for school projects which is contingent upon receiving at least 75% reimbursement from the state. Fitch does not expect additional issuance of debt to impact the current assessment.” The school projects bond and the city capital improvements bonds were all approved with overwhelming voter support. The school project bonds will provide generational upgrades to the city’s schools adding to the recently completed renovations of Nathanael Greene and Potter Burns as well as security and health upgrades that have occurred in every school. The city capital improvement bonds will give Pawtucket the opportunity to continue its improvements of city infrastructure including adding on to the more than half of the City roads that have been repaved under Mayor Grebien’s administration.
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- Mayor Donald R. Grebien