Moody’s Investors Service downgraded of the City’s credit rating in the midst of an active debate about a significant construction project on the Downtown North site.
The Mayor interpreted the downgrade as highlighting the importance of economic development. He also implied that the financing structure currently proposed for the Downtown North project is the best available option.
Downtown North supporters using the rating downgrade as evidence the project should move forward need to be absolutely sure that the proposal grows the taxable Grand List without earmarking those new tax receipts to pay for the development. Otherwise the project doesn’t address the City’s financial situation.
Others saw the downgrade as a warning that the City is stretched too thin, and a reason to reject the current Downtown North proposal as an imprudent financial commitment by the City.
Opponents need to realize that the downgrade is independent of the ballpark-centered proposal. Stopping the Downtown North project doesn’t speak to Moody’s concerns either.
There are a limited number of ways that the City’s financial position can be improved – increasing revenue, reducing spending, or improving operations are the most common. Concern about the credit downgrade needs to translate into constructive action to address the problem.
Does this mean that it’s time to get serious about reviewing Hartford’s goals, strategies, and overall business plan?
Fortunately, the Hartford Committee on the Restructuring of City Government was created to start this exact conversation.