Moody’s Investors Service comments favorably on city’s new budget
Moody’s Investor Services issued a report Tuesday saying Port St. Lucie’s new budget and tax rate, which were approved Sept. 28, are “structurally balanced,” and are viewed by the agency as “credit positive.”
The comments indicate the city is taking the right steps to manage its failed economic investments and strengthen future financial security.
“If the council had not increased city revenues, the heightened debt service costs associated with the projects would have pressured the general fund,” Moody’s said. “The city has been proactive in paying down special assessment debt early when revenues have been available.”
In June, Moody’s downgraded the city’s bond rating from Aa3 to A1, reflecting potential risks associated with the debt on the city-owned Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute’s facility, among other factors. At the time, the agency also noted several strengths such as the city’s adequate reserve levels, a large tax base with growth potential and a modest pension burden.
“This positive updated analysis by Moody’s is exactly the response we anticipated and hoped for upon the City Council’s adoption of a budget that proactively addresses our debt. We believe the new budget will safeguard the city’s credit ratings while allowing us to continue the top-notch services our residents are used to,” said City Manager Jeff Bremer.
Moody’s said future budget projections made before the tax increase included deficits through 2019, however updated projections now show surpluses in each of the next five years.
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City of Port St. Lucie