Wilkes-Barre’s Credit Rating Is Upgraded

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE. PA — Mayor Tom Leighton is touting the city’s new “positive outlook” rating from a national credit rating company, and representatives of a local bond broker and financial services company say the city has reason to celebrate.

Standard & Poor’s Rating Services revised its outlook on the city’s outstanding general obligation bonds from A- negative to A- positive, according to a recently released S&P report.

It’s noteworthy, the mayor says, because “it saves taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and allows us the flexibility to invest in our city, improve our infrastructure and create jobs for our citizens.”

Pete Shelp, a certified financial planner at Janney Montgomery Scott, a stock and bond brokerage and financial services firm in Kingston, said Thursday a higher credit rating could save the city considerable cash.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1026124/Wilkes-Barres-credit-rating-is-upgraded

Bipartisan Effort Shapes Action On City Distress Issues

HARRISBURG – While the city of Scranton struggles daily with cash-flow problems, key state lawmakers see any unveiling of comprehensive legislative proposals to help fiscally distressed cities as being months away.

A rollout of bills is anticipated early next year with the start of the new legislative session, said Sen. John Eichelberger, R-30, Hollidaysburg, chairman of the Senate Local Government Committee.

A bipartisan group in the Senate and House is working on a host of related issues, including an overhaul of the Act 47 program for fiscally distressed municipalities, municipal pension benefits, collective bargaining for public employees and the role of nonprofit institutions clustered in cities.

Since four legislative committees held joint hearings last fall on the future of Act 47, lawmakers involved in the effort to find solutions to the problems cities face with eroding tax bases and increased demand for services have emphasized its bipartisan nature.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/bipartisan-effort-shapes-action-on-city-distress-issues-1.1357868