Asbury Park Mayor John Moor recently announced that the city has received it’s highest credit rating ever from Moody’s Investor Services.
The city received a letter from Moody’s on Jan. 17 stating that Asbury Park was being rated A2, which demonstrates by Moody’s definition that it “is a low credit risk.”
Meaning that the city is a low risk to investors of the city’s long term debt.
In the 14 years that Moody’s has been rating the city, this is the highest ever rating.
When asked to define the importance of a credit rating for local governments, Mayor Moor likened it to an individual’s credit score.
“The higher your score, the less interest you pay, more banks will want to lend you money. It is a really huge deal for the city to be upgraded,” he said.
When Moor assumed the mayorship in January 2015, he said one of his goals was to improve the city’s financial standing.
“All members of the governing body made improving the city’s financial condition priority number one and this upgrade is the fruits of these labors,” he said.
According to a release from the city, in early 2015 the city was downgraded by Moody’s to Baa2 which signifies a moderate credit risk. This downgrade was based on the State’s finances, which, in 2015, could have led to a cut in the Transitional Aid program.
Asbury Park has received transitional aid for over a decade to help balance its budget.
Going from Baa2to A2 is a three step increase for the city.
Moody’s identified several factors which led to the upgrade including fiscal management.
“What I am most proud of is Moody’s identified that management is active in managing costs to ensure revenues are matching expenditures,” the mayor said.
Also Moody’s highlighted the city Workforce Development Plan.
Councilwoman Eileen Chapman, who was part of the initial rating call with Moody’s, said, “Moody’s response to how we are addressing the socio-economic needs of the City’s residents was positive and demonstrated that we are moving in the right direction.”
The city anticipates seeking an updated rating in two years pending no major changes to the ongoing and planned development throughout the city.
City Manager Michael Capabianco said in two years the city’s financial standing will trend better with Moody’s internal analysis which could result in another upgrade.
Mayor Moor expressed his gratitude to all those who contributed to the city’s success in recent years.
“This upgrade is due to the hard work put in by our partners in the City’s rebirth: the residents, business owners, churches, nonprofits, developers, city hall staff and anyone else I missed,” he said.
Moody’s public information on the upgrade can be found at this link.