City Council briefs

July 08, 2004|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

Wall Street gives city finances good rating

City Finance Director Alfred Martin said the city's financial outlook got good reviews from Wall Street recently.

At Tuesday's City Council work session, Martin said the good marks came from Moody's Investors Service, a New York financial institution that rates the bonds that local governments use to borrow money.

The ratings are based on local governments' ability to repay the debt.

Moody's assigns ratings to bonds with a combination of letters and numbers, with Aaa1 being the best rating and C3 being the worst.

The city's rating, A3, did not change after the service reviewed the city's recent borrowing of $8.3 million in bonds.

However, Moody's analysts gave the city a "positive outlook," due to its location near the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area and its new annexation policy, which the analysts expect will help increase the city's tax base.


Martin said the letter means it is more likely the city will get a higher bond rating in the future, which would mean it would cost less for the city to borrow money through bonds.

Council OKs plan for more markers

There may be more historic markers in the near future in the City of Hagerstown.

The Hagerstown City Council at its Tuesday work session approved a plan to bring more historic markers into the city. The cost would be borne by the property owners, so private property owners would pay for their own markers and the city would pay for markers to be placed on city property.

It would be up to the property owners to decide if they want a marker.

City Zoning Administrator Stephen Bockmiller, who presented the plan, said the plaques would be similar to those used in Baltimore, and would focus on the Civil War period.

The plan is tied to the city's expectation of being designated a Maryland Civil War Heritage Area, a state-designated area in which businesses can apply for construction assistance to ease growth at preserved areas such as Antietam National Battlefield.

Bockmiller said planning staff would work with the Washington County Historical Society to verify the historic information.

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