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Cincinnati getting ready for meetings with bond agencies

Cincinnati officials will be meeting with bond rating agencies next month to essentially determine the city's credit score for the coming year.  That bond rating determines how much it will cost the city to borrow money. 

Council Member Kevin Flynn said the process and the rating is important.

"Even if it's a quarter point, we're talking substantial dollars here if we get a reduction," Flynn said.

Right now the city's bond rating is AA, which is a step below the best of AAA.  City officials want to maintain the current rating. 

But that could take some Council action including finding a way to structurally balance the city's budget, or spending the same amount of money as the city collects in revenues.  For several years the city has spent more than that and covered the shortfalls with one time revenue sources. 

Council could also have to take steps to stabilize the city's underfunded pension system. 

Council member Christopher Smitherman said it is time to take action.

"We're at the end of the road, that's where I feel like we're at," Smitherman said.  "We have to make some real definitive decisions so that the bond rating agencies have a very clear direction on where we're going."

Council will set the next budget in June.  It could make decisions about the retirement plan within the next month before the rating agencies are in town on March 20th and 21st.