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Pawtucket – On the heels of a two-notch bump in the City’s bond rating just last year, Fitch Ratings Agency has affirmed Pawtucket’s current BBB+ bond status.
In a report issued by Fitch on November 5th, Fitch highlighted the City’s progress in generating surpluses in fiscal years 2014 and 2015 which bolstered the rainy day fund, providing for greater liquidity. Also, the elimination of historical deficits from the school fund, growth in the tax base as a result of economic development and an increase in home values have been noted as positives for the City.
The most significant financial challenge facing the City according to the credit rating agency are the high cost of employee benefits, specifically, pensions and other post-employment benefits (OPEB). However, the rating agency readily acknowledged that progress has been made on the pension front with the City fully funding its annual required contribution (ARC) and negotiated changes to the pension plans.
“Pawtucket continues to make financial strides,” said Mayor Grebien. “The progress we have made over the last five years is encouraging and has set the stage for continued growth and prosperity. The affirmation of the City’s bond rating, on the heels of a two-notch increase only a year ago, signals that the best practices and efficiencies we continue to implement are making a positive impact,” continued Grebien. “While I am encouraged by this news, Fitch’s affirmation also serves as a reminder of the hard work ahead of us. I am committed to continuing to move our great city forward,” stated Grebien.
- Mayor Donald R. Grebien