Congratulations to City Manager Bernie Lynch, his fiscal team, and the city councilors who have supported them on the recent upgrade of the city of Lowell’s bond rating by Standard and Poor and Moody’s. These ratings agencies recognize and acknowledge, as many of us do, the wisdom of the city’s strong fiscal reserves, a manageable debt burden, a diverse tax base, and strong strategic planning.
Two things alluded to by the agencies that I think are grossly under-discussed within the city are the incredible amount of economic development that has gone on while we are digging ourselves out of the worst financial catastrophe since the Great Depression and the City Manager’s ability, several years ago, to reach a long term resolution of the previously unsustainable growth of employee health insurance costs. That he did this in concert with the unions and not by cramming it down their throats (as he was legally empowered to do) was a great bonus. Of all the good things that have happened during the Lynch administration, this is the one I see as having the greatest positive benefit for the longterm fiscal health of the city. That no one ever seems to mention this almost defies belief. Go to a gathering of municipal officials anywhere in Massachusetts and ask them their greatest challenge and they’ll cite the rising cost of health insurance. Lowell has already dealt with this and that puts the city far ahead of the others.