Who is a member?
Our members are the local governments of Massachusetts and their elected and appointed leadership.
Following a period of financial troubles that led to the appointment of a state overseer in 2010, the city of Lawrence in February received a notable improvement in its bond rating.
Moody’s raised Lawrence’s bond rating from Baa1 to A3, the city’s highest since 1986.
Moody’s highlighted the role of Robert Nunes, a former Taunton mayor who served for several years as Lawrence’s overseer.
Since Nunes got involved, “the city has stabilized its financial position through the issuance of deficit notes and the adoption of more conservative fiscal management practices, resulting in an improved reserve and liquidity position,” the Moody’s report states.
“The gist is that we used fiscal discipline” to boost the bond rating, said Mark Ianello, the city’s finance director. “We budgeted without the use of one-time revenues, and we estimated our receipts, and did all the other things a community would do to put itself in better financial health.”
On March 18, Sean Cronin, a former deputy town administrator in Brookline, was appointed to the position previously held by Nunes.
“They’ve had operating surpluses, they’ve developed budgets that were structural balanced,” Cronin said of Lawrence. “And they’ve had good operating performances, meaning that they’ve actually made the budget and turned back some money. So from that perspective, they’ve certainly shown some improvement.”
But more work needs to be done in areas such as capital planning and free cash, Cronin added.
“We know that we are going to be working closely with them on their policies, to get them to a better capital plan and a better plan for free cash, and better long-term financial planning, to see what they can and cannot afford,” such as raises for employees, Cronin said.
“They highlighted three years of balanced budgets, without the use of one-time revenue, and they complied with everything they needed to in the deficit-finance legislation,” Cronin added.