Moody’s Investor Service placed Manassas Park on watchlist for a possible downgrade of the city’s general obligation bonds, which are currently rated A1/Negative, according to information released by the firm Tuesday evening.
The action reflects downward pressure on the city’s credit rating and the city's weakened general fund which has an undesignated balance, according to Moody’s.
The news of the possible downgrade comes about three months
Manassas Park city manager Jim Zumwalt discussed the city being placed on the watchlist Tuesday during the city’s governing body meeting.
Zumwalt said he and the city’s financial director Gary Fields discussed the possible downgrade with Moody’s analysts during an interview call on Thursday.
The analysts said they would go forward with announcing the city is on the watchlist, but would hold off on making a decision about the city’s credit rating until they received pertinent financial information from city staff, Zumwalt said.
Moody’s analysts have agreed to give the city a little more time and wait 60 days for the city’s audited fiscal year 2011 financial statements and the city’s five-year financial plan, among other things.
The information was well received Tuesday by Manassas Park's Mayor, Frank Jones
“I think that’s incredibly good news that they didn’t go ahead and move and make a decision and that they are interested in what we are doing," Jones said. "I think that speaks highly of the work that the city staff is doing … I think that speaks highly of Moody’s integrity that they are interested in making sure they have all of the facts before they go into their delibrations … I think that’s a good thing."
Manassas Park’s five-year financial plan is expected to be voted on by city council wthin the next few weeks.