BEACON, N.Y. -- The city of Beacon, which is preparing to issue new notes to fund its new highway garage among other projects, has been given a higher bond rating by Moody’s, said Mayor Randy Castle.
Castle announced recently that the credit rating agency has upgraded Beacon to an Aa2 from an Aa3.
Having an Aa2 rating means the city has been judged a “very low credit risk,” Castle said.
The mayor said the city plans to issue new notes for the building of the highway garage, the reconstruction of Rombout Avenue, and its LED Street Light project.
Castle said the city is also issuing a long‐term bond for several capital improvement projects that have already been completed.
Short‐term notes were issued for these projects in 2011 and 2012.
The city’s bond rating was last upgraded in 2011. It went to an Aa3 from an A2, he said.
City Administrator Anthony Ruggiero said the upgrade is a “testament” to good management, which includes “diligent oversight” of the city’s fund balance and its “conservative budgeting practices.”
The new designation, Ruggiero said, means Beacon stands among the highest rated cities and towns in Dutchess County, and the state.
Castle said factors behind the upgrade include the following
- An improved financial position over last five years.
- Favorable reserves when compared to the Aa2 national median.
- Strong liquidity levels
- Moderate growth in tax base and increase in development activity.
- Manageable debt levels given well‐developed capital plans.
- Frequent issuance of bond anticipation notes with a demonstrated track record of market access.
Beacon has “worked very hard to institute sound financial practices,” said the city’s director of finance, Susan Tucker.
While everyone in its government is glad about the upgrade, Ruggiero said, the city is still struggling with “the rising costs for state mandates, utilities, pensions, and health insurance.”
The city, he said, has to balance “these hurdles” with its obligation to provide critical services to residents.
The city’s top priority is to maintain a “healthy fund balance” while developing its long-term capital improvement plan, he said.
Both are essential to the city’s growth and revitalization, he added.
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