Moody’s Investors Service Revises Methuen’s Finance Rating Upwards, Credits Surpluses

Methuen Mayor Neil Perry. (Courtesy photograph.)

Methuen is bouncing back after a near-crippling deficit and budget cuts if its latest Moody’s financial rating is any indication.

Moody’s Investors Service this week said “the city’s negative outlook has been revised to stable following improvements to the city’s financial operations and reserves.” Methuen Mayor Neil Perry said the updated rating reflects Methuen’s “significant operating surplus achieved in 2020.”

“The improvement shows that changes implemented by our department heads and employees, along with City Council oversight, have resulted in an A3 Stable rating. I am confident that our fiscal prudence will result in further improvements moving forward.”

Perry’s statement came in a press release jointly issued by Perry and Chief Administrative and Financial Officer Maggie Duprey. According to Moody’s, Methuen has approximately $46.4 million in outstanding general obligation debt, of which $2.4 million is rated by Moody’s.

Moody’s noted the city’s need for deficit financing in 2018 issuance and “low level state oversight,” but added such positive factors as “sizeable, growing tax base outside of Boston, healthy resident wealth and incomes and manageable long-term liabilities and fixed costs.” The ratings agency, however, warned of suck risks as “low reserves and liquidity” and “police union arbitration that could further pressure finances in the near term.”

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