North Branch gets credit rating upgrade

Despite the overall economical impact of COVID-19, the City of North Branch continues to receive positive news regarding its finances.

“I am very happy to announce the city’s credit rating from Moody’s has been upgraded from A3 to A2,” Finance Director Joseph Starks told the council during their Feb. 23 council meeting. “Almost as important, they also assigned a positive outlook to the city.”

Starks told the council the positive outlook means the city’s rating could be upgraded again in the near future.

“Obviously, this is fantastic news for the city during a normal year, but it’s absolutely incredible during a global pandemic in which credit rating downgrades are at or near an all-time high,” he said. “The upgrade reflects our trend of improving finances, declining debt burden, financial policy development, and ongoing tax-base growth.”

Opening in Water & Light Commission

Also at the Feb. 23 meeting, the council discussed an opening on the five-person North Branch Water & Light Commission, which is appointed by the city.

According to City Administrator Renae Fry, Emil Dahlberg has resigned from his seat, which runs through 2022. Anyone interested in applying for the position can go to the city’s website for an application to fill out. Applications are due by 4 p.m. on Monday, March 8. The council may consider the applications during their March 9 council meeting, however if there are multiple applications, the council may schedule a time to interview the applicants before making an appointment. Conversely, if the council feels there aren’t enough applicants, they might extend the deadline for submitting applicants.

The council had previously established an extensive application and interview process for appointing commission members back when the commission was expanded from three members to five. However, in January the council opted to simply appoint James Baxter to the vacant seat since Baxter was the only applicant and he had previously interviewed with the council during the commission’s expansion.

During discussion at the meeting, the council noted that applicants don’t have to be a resident of North Branch. They could be an owner of a business within the City of North Branch, as long as their business is a customer of either water or electric.

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