PORTAGE | The city's bond rating has improved.
Clerk-treasurer Chris Stidham said his office recently received word that the city's Standards and Poor's rating has been elevated to A plus with a stable outlook.
Its previous rating was an A minus with a neutral outlook.
Stidham said the improved rating means that the city would be able to borrow money through bonding at lower interest rates if it were inclined to do so.
Stidham added that the city earned the improved rating because of improvements in the city's financial status.
"The A plus rating, we believe, reflects an improved financial condition of the city, improved budgetary performance and improved available city funds at the end of 2012", said Karl Cender, of Cender & Company, financial consultants to the city, in a press released issued by Mayor James Snyder's office.
Standard & Poor’s also looked at Portage’s economy and considered the economy to be adequate and has access to the broad and diverse economy of Chicago.
Credit ratings give investors a sense of the entities’ credit worthiness and an upgrade in the city’s credit will be a positive reflection to help the city on future debt financing. The improving economy and critical improvements in key areas of city expenditures through projects such as restructuring of garbage and recycling systems, improved efficiencies throughout departments and addressing employee medical benefits have aided in improved budget flexibility, read the release.
"Portage department heads, city employees and Clerk-Treasurer Stidham deserve credit but a majority of this achievement goes to the residents of Portage. Portage residents have been on the front lines of change in the city. They have been patient, as we have had to quickly implement new policies and procedures that were designed to help our fiscal crisis," said Snyder. "We are by no means out of the woods, but this does improve our ability to better finance much needed infrastructure projects throughout the city."