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City bond ratings on track.

Byline: Nick Kotsopoulos

WORCESTER -- The three bond rating agencies used by the city to review its fiscal health have affirmed their previous bond ratings for Worcester's municipal government.

In advance of the city going to market last week to sell $81.6 million in general obligation bonds, some of which will be used to convert outstanding notes to long-term debt, Moody's gave the city a rating of Aa3 (stable outlook), while Standard & Poor's and Fitch each gave the city ratings of AA- (stable outlook).

By maintaining its bond ratings, the city is expected to save an estimated $2.5 million over the life of the refunding bonds, according to city Treasurer and Tax Collector Mariann Castelli Hier.

In their reports, the rating agencies noted Worcester's "stable and improving financial position'' thanks to increasing reserve levels that are supported by formal fiscal policies.

They also pointed out that major development projects underway or recently completed are "contributing to measurable economic growth and are expected to boost tax values modestly.''

Before issuing their bond ratings, City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. said, representatives of the three agencies visited the city and heard presentations from city officials about the state of municipal finances and economic development.

He said the positive comments from the agencies are a testament to the City Council, the city administration and the community.

"We clearly demonstrated that the city's ongoing commitment to the five-point financial plan has created a system of fiscal stability,'' Mr. Augustus said.

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Title Annotation:Local
Author:Kotsopoulos, Nick
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Dec 16, 2014
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