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With Upgraded Credit Rating, Future Looks Bright For Fishkill

The Town of Fishkill has had its general obligation rating boosted from A3 from Baa1 by Moody's Investors Service due to its continued financial stability, tax base and potential for growth.
The Town of Fishkill has had its general obligation rating boosted from A3 from Baa1 by Moody's Investors Service due to its continued financial stability, tax base and potential for growth. Photo Credit: Google Maps screen shot

FISHKILL, N.Y. -- The future is looking brighter for Fishkill now that Moody's has upgraded its general obligation rating, town officials say.

This means that the bond credit rating business has dubbed the town capable of meeting its financial obligations.

Fishkill, which was rated Baa1, is now an A3.

The designation, the town said this week, affects $6.8 million of “rated GO debt outstanding.”

The upgrade to A3 reflects Fishkill’s ability to keep its financial nose clean. Specifically it has become more stable and has a “moderately sized” $2.5 billion tax base, “above-average” wealth levels and manageable debt and pension liabilities.

The median income of a typical Fishkill family is, Moody’s found, equal to 153% of the U.S. median.

Moody’s said it expects Fishkill’s tax base to “slowly rebound” as both residential and commercial markets improve.

It pointed to new development efforts in the town, including some residential projects, a senior center and a multi-year brownfield redevelopment.

(A brownfield can be defined as either an urban site that had previous development on it, or a former industrial of commercial site where its future use is affected by environmental contamination.)

According to Moody’s, the town’s “credit strengths” include: conservative budget practices, sound fiscal management and a tax base with above-average wealth levels.

It is not without its challenges, however, Moody’s found.

Fishkill still has to maintain its financial stability while focusing on services and capital needs. And it has to do this while completing a deficit recovery plan.

Moody’s pointed out that Fishkill had had “a rapid recovery from a large deficit position only five years ago.”

The bond credit rating business added that it expected the “positive rating outlook” will help Fishkill balance its operations and maintain its “reserve levels” in the long run.

Moody’s said it looked at the town’s fiscal 2015 audited financials and found that they reflected an operating surplus in the operating funds (general, town outside village, highway, TOV highway and debt service funds) of $3 million.

This was attributed to positive variances in both revenues and expenditures.

The budget had also appropriated $1.8 million for deficit reduction and contingencies, Moody’s found.

The surplus increased the available operating funds balance to $5.2 million, or “a very strong 45.8 percent of revenues,” it said, calling it “a marked improvement and turnaround from the deficit position just four years ago.”

Property taxes represent the biggest chunk – or 64 percent – of the town’s revenues, Moody’s report said.

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