BREWER, Maine — The city’s finance director said she was nervous about a recent surveillance review of the city’s bond rating, but apparently she had nothing to worry about after hearing this week that the city’s bond rate actually improved by two levels.
“Given the difficult times, I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Finance Director Karen Fussell said Friday after receiving a fiscal management assessment report on Wednesday by Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC.
Standard and Poor’s upgraded Brewer’s bond rating from A, or upper medium grade, to AA-, or high-quality grade, Fussell told City Council members in a memo Friday.
The last time the New York-based company rated Brewer was 2005.
“In these difficult times to see an upgrade is noteworthy,” she said. It “reflects very positively on the city’s fiscal management and the council’s leadership.”
The Standard & Poor’s report states, “The outlook is stable,” for Brewer, and reflects a “good financial position despite ongoing budget stress.”
In Fussell’s memo to councilors, she highlighted the bond company’s other high points — that taxpayer concentration is diverse, and despite ongoing stress largely caused by state aid cuts and a slight decline in the tax base, Brewer’s financial operations remain favorable.
The report also states, “Brewer’s management practices are considered ‘good’ under Standard & Poor’s financial management assessment,” and that “the city’s debt burden remains manageable.”