August 14, 2019
Agency’s annual review upgrades bond rating to BBB+ from BBB and assigns Stable Outlook
PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today announced that Standard and Poor’s Corporation (S&P) has upgraded the City of Providence’s bond rating to BBB+ up from BBB and also assigned a Stable Outlook to the City’s rating. According to the agency, the upgrade reflects Providence’s progress in improving finances, the correction of structural budget imbalances and a trend of three years of balanced operations.
“Standard & Poor’s recent bond rating upgrade signals that Providence continues to move forward through our commitment to responsible financial management,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “We are a city on the rise and leading financial institutions have taken notice. While we still have challenges before us, we’ll continue to closely monitor our finances and working to keep the momentum going.”
S&P noted that they expect the results to continue and acknowledged the City’s administration has “put stronger financial controls and oversight in place and is improving administrative processes and achieving efficiency gains.” Providence’s strengths highlighted in report included the City’s trend of consecutive operating surpluses, growth in assessed and market values, meaningful private development, relatively low unemployment rate, the presence of higher education and health care institutions and tax base growth.
S&P credited the City’s budget management practices including the adoption of more realistic budgetary assumptions and careful monitoring of expenditures as major factors in improving finances. The City realized a $10.3 million surplus in Fiscal Year 2016 and a $5.44 million surplus in Fiscal Year 2017 which helped erase a $13.4 million cumulative deficit earlier than expected, as well as $9.1 million operating surplus in Fiscal Year 2018.