Mayor Touts Bond Rating

From Mayor Bill Finch:

Standard & Poor’s Affirms City’s Long-Term Bond Rating

Affirms short-term rating for tax anticipation notes

Mayor Finch and city officials are encouraged by Standard & Poor’s affirmation of both its short-term tax anticipation notes rating and long-term general obligation bond ratings.

Late last week, S&P affirmed the City’s short term rating of ‘SP-1+’ for the City’s Series B general obligation tax anticipation notes (TANs), based on strong debt service coverage projected at maturity.

At the same time, the ratings agency also affirmed the City’s ‘A-‘ long-term rating on the city’s general obligations bonds, noting the following reasons in its report:

• Good taxable value growth over the past several years;

• Strong per capita market values and adequate household income;

• Improved financial management capabilities contributing to stronger financial reserves and cash balances; and

• Moderate debt burden, even including previously issued pension obligation bonds.

“We’re very encouraged by the confidence shown by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) in affirming our ratings,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “We have worked hard during my four years in office to reduce spending, trim department budgets, and lower our overall spending by $3 million over the last two budget cycles. We are very happy to have S&P recognize all the hard work that we’ve done; this is great news for Bridgeport taxpayers.”

The tax anticipation notes (TANs) will fund a portion of the City’s general fund cash flow needs from October until the collection of property taxes in January and February. Property taxes are levied semiannually, and the taxes are payable on July 1 and January 1, with the majority of collections received and processed by mid-July and mid-February. These notes will mature on Feb. 10, 2012; the TANs will be paid off using proceeds from tax collections.

Acting City Finance Director Dawn Norton said, “Holding our present excellent bond rating is great news. Our tax collection rate remains strong, and we are making strides toward increasing our cash balances. It shows the City’s finances remain very stable in an otherwise unstable economic climate.”



  1. The mayor also “touted” a $600 tax break to invite voters to his cause. The man has no shame. He will say anything he thinks will get the attention of the voters.


    Actually, we’re not interested in the people who vote regularly. Finch has the overwhelming edge there due to a perceived preservation of livelihood. We are interested in the lazy bastards who would not get off their asses and get out to vote.

    We were beaten by you, not by Finch. There are at least 30,000 people who could have voted but didn’t. Most of whom if not all gripe and complain about how bad it is in this town. You didn’t do anything about it. You didn’t vote. What in the hell is the matter with all of you? You let these bums back in because you couldn’t be bothered to do your civic duty. Shame on all of you.

    Thanks a lot.

    1. yahooy,
      The Mayor touted the $600. People bought the offer and the Mayor failed to deliver. Four years ago. I guess he was forgiven, but the people never inquired why he could not afford the $600. And they still are not curious.

      What has the Mayor touted recently? His Fitch A rating. Several of us have repeated the fact Bridgeport is one of 30 Connecticut communities rated by Fitch and we are unique in getting their lowest rating, A. Others have AA or AAA and variants of those, all higher than ours, but the public does not understand the rating scoreboard. When the Mayor called one OIB blogger before the primary, he was confronted with that fact. Without an apology, he switched the story to “But Bridgeport is only 17 square miles in area.” as if that explained why he was bragging about an A rating that really created a false impression of financial strength.
      The area the City occupied when Fabrizi was through and the area on that December 2007 date when Finch became Mayor were the same. Also, the same were: a broken fiscal review structure that does not include a Board of Finance; an inadequate and dependent City Council constituency who do not get enough info to understand the continuing attack on City net worth by recommendations from the Mayor’s office; the lack of a balanced budget from any section of City governance; and failure of internal and external audit structures to make a difference and become public.

      Now, if Mayor Finch were to release the Management Review letters from the budget years 2007 (Fabrizi last full year, 2008 (half Fabrizi and half Finch), 2009, and 2010, we would see a pattern of fiscal decisions and administration that has not seen the light of day and voter eyes, nor been spoken from the Mayor’s lips to the voters’ ears.
      It might also provide the only overview we might get that would begin to explain the manner in which $185 Million of debt, obligations and responsibilities have increased during the Finch first term. Since he does not address these facts in any public manner, he must not be proud of this performance. That is shameless behavior and will lead to higher taxes. That is the only time people will wake up, unfortunately.
      Those who are currently putting homes on the market find they are in a market with decreased values and a surplus of homes on the market, decreasing market values further. The handwriting is on the wall. Ask your Council candidate what they know about it, how much they care about it, and what they can do about having voted for unbalanced budgets kicking large sums down the road that will have to be paid by taxpayers. After all that is what Standard & Poor and Fitch, the rating firms are counting on, “the unlimited taxing power of the City.” That should be of comfort to all those who are dozing currently. Unlimited, imagine?

    2. yahooy // Oct 5, 2011 at 9:22 am
      To your posting

      You have the right track but the wrong train … I think. Consider most people get registered to vote because cousin to Ezequiel or niece to Sue gets a request from the candidate or the campaign to become a registered voter. There is no great and sweeping high-reaching motivation to become an active and participatory voter like you and I want each voter to be. That accounts for at least 7 to10 thousand voters.

      Another 10,000 are so disillusioned, discouraged and dispensing of any citizen-wide city programs of public benefit and public service, they view voting as negligible at best. No one ever showed them how a vote becomes the light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps another 14,000 remain … to be educated and motivated during the next 40 months.

      We are going to organize. We are going to reach those voters. This kind of non-voting cannot happen again. Are you up for the effort?

  2. *** Those who voted for Finch or stayed home got nothing to complain about for four years should he win the general election, no? Especially the 40-plus out of 90 DTC members who either work for the city, have relatives who do, are on a board or commission, or an elected official. And let’s not forget those who maybe soon will be getting a job with the city after the election. *** FORGETABOUTIT ***

  3. mojo,
    Word is Budget & Appropriations will hold a meeting on Tuesday evening (because of the Monday holiday) to review the July and August budget info, among other things. Might be interesting to attend and listen to what this group discusses in public, what they are able to see from info provided by the City, and the level of their concerns and questions as they approach the entire subject.
    Not sure what you mean by “in the RED” in January 2012, because the Mayor has failed to disclose how the year actually ended other than to tell us his office was MISTAKEN at the end of February and three months later at the end of May 2011 (each time projecting deficits of over $2 Million) but finding in time for the Housatonic C.C. forum the City actually had a $150,000 surplus, with no backup data? How credible are his statements? TRUST BUT VERIFY. Where is our verification? It does not come from Standard & Poor’s or Fitch, who continue to give us low-range ratings, in no way comparable to communities with better governance structure and practices.

    RED, for our purposes, would be to see all of the City assets (with Grand List property valued at current market values?) reduced by all of our Liabilities (debt, including our responsibilities, and obligations). Subtracting one from the other, we can see what has happened to our NET WORTH as a CITY. If the decrease in land, buildings and depreciated stuff that contribute to our assets is for real, and if gross liabilities have increased faster than we have paid formal debt down, then we will see a lower net worth. That puts us in a red zone, and indicates for all of his future vision and sustainable rhetoric, Mayor Finch has spent four years and put the City in a worse financial position than before he won office. Who will argue this is healthy for the community?

    Mojo, thanks for asking the question. Now ask your Council person for an answer. Perhaps they will WAKE UP sooner than later. Time will tell.

  4. Fitch just downgraded Italy’s debt to A+, which is very troubling to the stock market. Why is it Bridgeport’s citizens should be proud our rating is an A?


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