Despite rough economic waters the past several years, Alpena's leadership has been able to maintain a solid "A" bond rating since 2009, including this year.
Recently Treasurer Karen Hebert relayed news of the bond rating to members of council. The rating speaks well of everyone associated with the city, from its city manager and department heads down to its employees. Especially, however, it speaks well of municipal council, whose tough decisions, foresight and strict adherence to fundamental budget planning, has helped guide the city and positioned it to receive the very favorable bond rating.
Bond ratings are extremely important, as they indicate the economic health of a community. As new businesses and manufacturers consider places for expansion or investment, one of the first things they consider is that community's bond rating.
"People would look at us as a strong community and come in and buy bonds," Hebert said in a recent newspaper story. "It makes us look stronger and it makes our credit rating better."
Hebert attributed a strong city fund balance as one of the reasons for the rating.
"An A rating means they see us as stable. They liked that we had a 10 percent minimum fund balance policy and the fact we have never been below 10 percent," Hebert said. "They feel our debt burden is low, which means our debt is less than $1,000 per population and we have been paying a lot of our loans off, so that helped too."
Sometimes it would have been easier not to be so frugal, but as evidence by this news, the reward for fiscal responsibility is worth it.