Writing about our 2014 budget last month, I noted that New Rochelle’s fiscal health had improved. Now we have some independent confirmation of our stronger financial position from the rating agency Moody’s. Yesterday, citing New Rochelle’s responsible budgetary practices, Moody’s announced that it was removing a negative outlook that had been assigned three years ago. Good news.
Every city is facing tough fiscal challenges. I am proud that New Rochelle is meeting those challenges in a way that is balanced and forward-looking. This press release from the City has more information:
Moody’s Investors Services has confirmed the existing rating of Aa3 to the City’s upcoming bond issue and has removed the negative outlook designation first assigned in 2011. The removal of this designation enhances the credit worthiness of the City’s debt and means that the City will enjoy lower interest costs on general obligation bonds that may be issued in the future.
Mayor Noam Bramson said, “This is very good news for the taxpayers of New Rochelle and provides evidence that our financial management practices are recognized in a positive fashion by the investment community.”
In confirming the Aa3 rating, Moody’s noted the city’s sizable tax base, above average wealth indices and manageable debt burden. The removal of the negative outlook recognizes the city’s improved financial position “due largely to the implementation of improved budgetary practices.”
Moody’s recognized as critical factors the steady improvement in the city’s fund balance over the past three years and the positive variances in sales taxes, building permits, delinquent taxes and mortgage taxes. Additionally, Moody’s cited the city’s below average direct debt burden and rapid amortization of debt principal as contributing to their rating determination.
“The removal of the negative outlook is a major achievement and indicates that we have successfully met the fiscal challenges caused by the global economic recession beginning in late 2007,” said Finance Commissioner Howard Rattner. “Continuation of our present budgetary practices will insure the future financial stability of the city.”