Mayor, City Officials Complete Successful Visits with Credit Rating Agencies
Mayor Levar M. Stoney, Chief Administrative Officer Selena Cuffee-Glenn, city finance officials and representatives of Davenport & Company, the city’s financial advisors, completed successful visits with Moody’s Investors Service, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s last week in New York.
The delegation presented the city’s improved financial position and extensive growth in economic development, with the mayor highlighting accomplishments in a number of key focus areas in advance of a new debt issuance planned for this summer to support capital project spending and economic development initiatives.
Some key initiatives that were well received by the rating agency analysts included:
- Early completion of the FY2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which allowed the city to save over $13 million in a debt refunding
- The successful 2017 tax amnesty program
- Investment of $150 million in new school facilities
- Poverty reduction efforts such as increased state grant funds for community wealth building
- Expansion of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and creation of a separate department dedicated to housing
- Implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.
The mayor also highlighted the city’s strengthened debt management, fund balance and reserve policies consistent with best practices of highly rated local governments.
The city’s presentation also cited positive demographic trends, such as Richmond’s population growth, reduction in the unemployment rate to 3.7% for April 2018 and expansion of the city’s tax base. The mayor highlighted the breadth of economic growth across the city and in all industrial sectors, with over $1.3 billion in investment announced or underway since January 2017.
Above and beyond these recent successes, city officials discussed the continued potential for neighborhood transformation and significant investment in the city’s downtown, as official negotiations commence with the North of Broad Redevelopment respondent to the city’s issued request for proposals (RFP).
“Thanks to sound fiscal management, disciplined and targeted funding priorities addressing our needs and increased investment, our financial position is strong,” said Mayor Stoney. “We look forward to building on this success in the coming fiscal year and leveraging this strength into opportunities to grow our city for the benefit of all of its residents.”