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PAWTUCKET â€” While city officials were hoping for an upgrade, lingering concerns about the city's ability to eliminate its past school budget deficits and its unfunded municipal pension and other post-employment benefits led to the Fitch Ratings service affirming Pawtucket's bond rating at a â€śBBB-; Outlook Stableâ€ť rating.
The â€śBBB-â€ť rating will be applied to the city's long-term general obligation bonds, which are listed as being $5.2 million in general obligation bonds, series 2001; $1.8 million in general obligation refunding bonds, series 2002B; and $9.9 million in general obligation bonds, series 2005.
In a letter to the City Council, Finance Director Joanna L'Heureux said that Fitch recognizes the city has improved its operations with tax increases and departmental cost savings such as privatizing the waste transfer station, employee attrition and reducing â€śminimum manningâ€ť with the Fire Department. However, she said Fitch remains concerned that the progress in the city's general fund could be stalled if the school deficit elimination â€śbenchmarksâ€ť are not met.
Read more in our print edition.