Moody's, S&P boost Cumberland credit scores

Moody's, S&P boost Cumberland credit scores

CUMBERLAND – Cumberland’s credit rating is suddenly something to brag about following reports this week by both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.

Moody’s Investors Service affirmed Cumberland’s A1 rating but removed the “negative outlook” that’s clouded the town’s financial picture in recent years.
Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, meanwhile, took the unusual step of notching the town up two full points, from A to AA-minus.

Mayor Daniel McKee called the news “pretty fantastic, more than I expected.”

Moody’s ranking puts the town firmly at the top of the “upper-medium” investment grade category, while S&P’s AA assessment reflects “excellent financial security.”

The mayor, who’s likely launching a statewide run for lieutenant governor this fall, says his tenure as mayor has seen Moody’s raise Cumberland by seven points over that time, from the low, "speculative grade" of Ba2 in 2000. Moody’s has 21 notches to describe investment risk.

The upswing comes as the town begins to resolve its police pension and other post-employment benefit funding shortfalls, make water and sewer departments self-sustaining, and maintain surpluses on the both town and school side. Even the town's move to merge its fire departments drew favorable comment by the rating agencies, McKee said.

McKee suggested that for taxpayers, the credit upswings are “an outside confirmation of the fiscal condition of a community and psychological confirmation we’re living in a community that’s solvent - and that makes a difference to people living here.”

See details in the Aug. 8 Valley Breeze.

- Marcia Green