Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Moody's: Minneapolis is "Aaa" Material

The City of Minneapolis has regained our triple-A (or Aaa) rating from Moody's Investors Service. The City was already rated triple-A ("AAA") from Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poors. By regaining the "triple-triple A" status Minneapolis joins an elite, small number of cities (less than 5%) with the highest ratings from all three major rating services.

This is the result of outstanding work over the past eight years by both Minneapolis elected officials and our financial management staff, especially our invaluable and extremely droll Chief Financial Officer Patrick Born, and our skillful, dedicated Director of Management & Budget Heather Johnston. Together, we have constantly improved our financial condition - which was nowhere near as positive at the turn of the millenium as it is today - and withstood the financial crises caused by reduced state support while laying a solid foundation for the future. We've significantly reduced our debt, kept up our reserves, and made structurally balanced five-year budgets.

Contrast this to the state, where structurally imbalanced budgets have been the standard over the last decade (especially the last eight years under the Pawlenty administration) and you can see why Minneapolis is able to weather the Great Recession, even while watching the state return less and less of the sales and property tax that it takes from us. And now it's not just us saying it, but all three of the major rating services.

In practical terms, this will reduce the cost of the capital bonds that the city uses to do things like build roads and sewers. Cheaper bonds will, in the long term, lessen the burden on property taxpayers.

This is wonderful news, and I commend everyone - Mayor Rybak, all of the Council members of the last two terms, and especially our professional staff - for making it possible.


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