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Changes in Easton's credit rating

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 07 2013 05:07:13 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 07 2013 09:31:01 PM CDT

Changes in Easton's credit rating

EASTON, Pa. -

The city of Easton has had its share of financial hardships in the past but now the city is being awarded an "A plus" for its finances.

The upgraded bond rating was announced Monday.

So what does that mean for the city?

The city had to get a new bond rating before city officials could sell $6.5 million in bonds.

The money will be used to build the new city hall building but city leaders say the rating doesn't mean Easton has a bunch of money in reserve.

The news comes at a great time for Easton.

In just two years the city has increased its bond rating from an A- to an A+.

"We've been working hard to make the right decisions for the right reasons and we're excited not only about this outside, positive review," said Sal Panto, mayor of Easton. "But also about the amount of development taking place in our city neighborhoods."

An A+ rating means lower interest rates, and lower insurance premiums for the city of Easton.

The rating service, Standard and Poor's, issued the new rating last week.

A report from the company cited Easton's good financial management practices, and city leaders have increased the reserve account each year since 2010.

"It doesn't mean we're rich," added Panto. "It doesn't mean we have bags of money in the bank, we don't. But what we have is living within our means."

In 2008, Easton was on the verge of Act 47, basically a bankrupt city.

Panto credits the city council and the city controller with making tough decisions regarding the budget.

Now the city is seeing those decisions pay dividends.

"All of this is so that the city is attractive for people to invest in and create jobs," said Glenn Steckman, city administrator of Easton.

The $6.5 million in bonds for the new city hall go out for bid Wednesday morning.