Chester, which has been in Pennsylvania's Act 47 program for distressed communities, has received an A rating from Standard & Poor's.

Municipal officials, who could not determine when the city last received a rating, found the news encouraging.

"That means that we are doing things the right way," Shepard Garner, a councilman and Accounts and Finance Department director, told the Delaware County Times.

Standard & Poor's cited improved financial management since 2007 and moderate debt on a per-capita basis. The city is located between Philadelphia and Wilmington, Del.

The rating agency said Chester faces such challenges as a weak local economy with a declining population, dependence on gambling-related revenues for its general fund, and low property tax collections.

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