Brien For Mayor Campaign Demonstrates That Recent Press Release Issued by Mayor is Intentionally Misleading

A press release dated Wednesday, September 16, 2020 issued by the current mayor regarding a recent action taken by Fitch Ratings, was yet another example of the misleading rhetoric that the taxpayers have unfortunately come to expect from this administration.

Specifically, the headline of the Mayor’s press release was: Mayor Baldelli-Hunt ReleasesGood News That Fitch Upholds City’s Investment Grade “A” Bond Rating

The current mayor, however, did not share with the public that Fitch actually downgraded their Outlook for the City from Positive down to Stable.

It is obvious election year politics considering that the last time Fitch issued a report on the City, on November 26, 2019, they affirmed our current ratings and gave us a “Positive Outlook”. At the time, the Mayor issued a press release emphasizing the “Positive Outlook” with thefollowing headline: Fitch Continues to see a “Positive” Financial Outlook for Woonsocket asit affirms Investment Grade “A” Bond Rating

Yet, in September 2020 when Fitch lowered their Outlook from “Positive” down to“Stable”, the current mayor intentionally mislead the taxpayers by failing to share that important detail.

Moreover, the General Obligation Bond rating of “A” exists because, as Fitch noted, “TheRhode Island State General Assembly enacted amendments to Section 45-12-1 of the General Laws to provide GO bondholders with a statutory lien on ad valorem taxes and general fund revenues of cities and towns with priority over creditors in the event of a bankruptcy of the issuer. Fitch believes that this provides bondholders a substantial preferential right in a bankruptcyproceeding.”

Due to the fact that the City is not issuing General Obligation Bonds, the “A” rating is of little to no consequence. What matters to the City is the Issuer Default Rating, which is BBB+ and applies to the Revenue Bonds that have been issued to finance the recent upgrades to the Waste-Water Treatment Plant and the City’s new Water Treatment Plant.

It should also be noted that the current mayor stated in this same Press Release that “insteadof giving in and going bankrupt as some advocated”, she “tackled our fiscal problems head-onand overcame them with hard work”. This statement completely ignores the fact that she signed a letter dated April 22, 2012 calling on then Mayor Leo Fontaine to put the City into receivership.

Make no mistake, the City, through hard work and sacrifice of many parties, not to mention a pre-Covid economic recovery unprecedented in modern times, has led to much improved credit metrics for the City, a measure of which the City can be proud. The intentional misleading of the public for political gain does nothing more than set us up for failure in the future. Worse, it speaks volumes to the integrity, or the lack thereof, of our current mayor.

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