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Posted on: September 21, 2018

Petersburg Receives Bond Rating Upgrade and Outlook Revised Upward to ‘Positive’


September 21, 2018

Petersburg Receives Bond Rating Upgrade and Outlook Revised Upward to ‘Positive’

Petersburg, Virginia:  Today, the City of Petersburg announces that Standard and Poor’s (S&P) Rating Services has upgraded the City’s bond rating one notch to ‘BB+’ from ‘BB’ and revised upward the outlook on the city’s bond rating to ‘Positive’ from ‘Stable’. 

The rating change reflects S&P’s view of the City’s commitment and continued progress towards restoring financial flexibility. The ‘Positive’ outlook reflects S&P’s expectation that the City will continue to strengthen both liquidity and reserve levels, while maintaining structurally balanced budgets.  In addition, the ‘Positive’ outlook further reflects S&P’s opinion that there is a one-in-three chance that the City’s rating could improve over the next two years if the City can demonstrate a track record of improved financial progress. 

“This rating upgrade and change in outlook to ‘Positive’ shows that the City is taking the right steps in getting its financial house in order,” said Aretha R.  Ferrell-Benavides, City Manager. “These changes reflect how far the City has come in the past 12 months through our City Council’s Leadership, but also shows that there is still a lot of work to do to restore the City’s fiscal health.  We made it clear that the financial turnaround of the City would not occur overnight and is a multi-year process.”  

S&P cited the elimination of accumulated deficits from prior years and the restoration of a positive available general fund balance over the upcoming fiscal years as important and sizeable improvements to the City’s overall financial position.  Mayor Samuel Parham said he “truly believes this is a team effort.” Mayor Parham attributes this improvement to having a seasoned Executive Team along with seasoned professional Financial Staff members with knowledge and subject matter expertise in finance and accounting. 

“Our ability to repay our debts, maintain structural balance and rebuild fund balance over the near term will be instrumental to future rating upgrades,” said Michael Rogers, Chief Operating Officer.

“The rating change and ‘Positive’ outlook is a great result given the significant efforts that the City Manager and the new management team have taken to repair the City’s fiscal health,” said Roland Kooch, Jr., Davenport & Company LLC, Financial Advisor to the City.  “We are on the same page with Ms. Ferrell-Benavides, continued commitment to improving the City’s finances are the key for future rating improvement.”


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