From the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs:
TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and City of Atlantic City today called attention to S&P Global Ratings’ positive outlook of the City’s financial performance and its two-notch ratings upgrade on the City’s general obligation bonds.
“This positive outlook demonstrates the steady progress that DCA and city officials are collaboratively making to improve the City’s fiscal health and its ability to appropriately manage its budget,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “Using the Atlantic City Transition Report as a guide, we are building up the City’s core strengths and addressing its longstanding challenges. We appreciate that S&P Global Ratings recognizes the effectiveness of the Murphy Administration’s community-centric approach and we look forward to continuing our important work in Atlantic City.”
“It’s truly a great day here in the City of Atlantic City. I’m excited about the news of being upgraded two spots. It’s an indication of the sheer hard work, dedication and cooperation between the City and State,” said Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small. “The great news will continue to instill investor confidence in our city as we work towards the ultimate goal of providing long-lasting tax relief for our taxpayers.”
Under the Municipal Stabilization and Recovery Act, the State, specifically DCA, is working to create financial stability for the City of Atlantic City by overseeing the City’s financial operations, annual budgeting, and financial planning and training. The Murphy Administration’s efforts have also focused on building the capacity of local government officials and enhancing quality-of-life for the city’s residents, understanding that these issues contribute to the city’s overall health and growth.
Some of the Administration’s actions to support Atlantic City include:
The S&P report stated, “We believe Atlantic City is poised to maintain and continue to improve financial performance, increase reserves levels, and improve liquidity. In our opinion, it should be able to withstand a modest level of stress and meet its financial obligations--particularly as it remains under state oversight.”
The report also stated that the City passed and adopted a fiscal 2019 budget in a timely fashion totaling $207.7 million, which is a reduction of 11 percent from the prior year. S&P additionally noted the budget reduced spending and relies less on Transitional Aid, which the ratings agency views positively.
A positive S&P outlook can help Atlantic City’s finances because current and future investors are more confident investing in a city that has a credit rating on the upswing and that shows an increasing capacity and willingness to meet its financial commitments.