Moody’s Evaluation of the Town of Ossining Finances

On Friday, September 14th, 2012, following a comprehensive review of Town finances and interview with Town management and officials, Moody’s Investors Service issued their bond ratings report for the Town of Ossining. While the Town has maintained its Aa3 rating, Moody’s has given a revised outlook to “Positive”. The upgraded outlook demonstrates the sound financial shape and good management policies of the Town, and that moving forward, the Town is an excellent credit risk as they prepare to issue bonds and notes. In addition to the Aa2 rating on $2,425,000 in serial bonds that denotes very strong creditworthiness, Moody’s also assigned a MIG1 rating on the Town’s $662,000 in one year bond anticipation notes, the highest short-term obligation rating available in the municipal market, denoting superior credit quality.

The reasons for this improved rating as quoted from the report are as follows:

“The Aa3 rating incorporates a strong tax base in a healthy regional economy, an improved financial position, and a minimal debt burden. The positive outlook contemplates a stabilization of the town’s finances arising from the recuperation of fund balance in the General Fund and other operating funds.”

Moody’s also provided the reasoning behind the positive outlook:

“The positive outlook reflects a clear trend of stabilized finances and improving reserves. Management has instituted various controls to ensure healthier reserves and structurally balanced operations. As these controls continue to solidify, they are likely to apply upward pressure to the rating.”

Town Supervisor Susanne Donnelly welcomed this news, and shared the following statement on Friday:

“It’s important for the Town to save taxpayer money whenever possible. The confidence that Moody’s has shown in the Town and the excellent bond and BAN ratings will allow us to finance vital infrastructure improvements at low interest rates. The Town will see reduced interest costs and additional savings in our budgets starting next year.”

This sentiment was echoed by the Town Comptroller Thomas Warren:

“Our fiscal advisor told us that, given the current difficult economy and uncertain times, Moody’s is making it more difficult to get a bond rating increase. For Moody’s to acknowledge our fiscal improvements and good management practices by assigning a “positive outlook” to our already high Aa3 bond rating, and to give its very highest rating on our one year notes, is a real tribute to the hard work of the Town Board, the Supervisor’s Office, and all department heads.”

Goals and Objectives:

The past Town administration took aggressive steps to re-build the unreserved fund balances of the Town, which has resulted in a significant increase of all fund balances. Management took measures to cut expenditures, and passed a policy in 2010 requiring a minimum fund balance of 10% of budget in each operating fund: the General Fund, the Outside Villages Fund, and the Highway Fund. The Town achieved this goal at close of fiscal year 2010, and saw further increases in all fund balances for the year ending 12/31/2011.

The current Town Board is committed to maintaining strong balances in all funds for all areas of the Town budget. The 2012 Board and Administration are committed to ensuring that all measures are taken to maintain the superior services provided to residents and businesses by the Town in the most cost efficient manner. During 2012, the Town Board/Administration has aggressively evaluated all service providers and budgeted expenditures, and continues to make adjustments to budget lines where expenses eclipse service levels in order to maintain a balanced budget.