BROOKHAVEN TOWN

Brookhaven Town gets AAA-okay

Moody's Investor Services and Standard & Poor's give town thumbs-up

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Brookhaven supervisor Ed Romaine is pleased to report that Moody’s Investor Services has re-affirmed the Town of Brookhaven’s AAA credit rating. In addition, Standard & Poor’s assigned their own rating of AAA. Both indicated a “stable outlook” for the town’s fiscal position. The ratings are the highest issued by the two services and identifies the town’s financial position as the highest quality and considered high-quality investment grade. Moody’s cited the town’s “continued strong financial management which will likely maintain a strong financial position.” 

A town’s credit rating is an important and reliable indicator of its fiscal health determined by independent and objective fiscal monitors, saving residents money in the form of lower interest costs.  While state and county governments are facing financial hardships due to the effects the pandemic has had on the economy, Moody’s cited proactive measures taken by Brookhaven, stating “Coronavirus is not a primary driver of the town’s credit rating given sound budget management which offset revenue declines with cuts to expenditures.”
Romaine said, “These reports show that we continue to perform at a high level of fiscal responsibility even in the face of very difficult times worldwide. The town’s financial team has kept us on a steady course, and I expect our fiscal position to remain strong for 2021. I thank every town department as well as commissioner of finance Tamara Branson, chief of operations Matt Miner and councilwoman Jane Bonner for their role in managing the Town’s finances and saving millions of taxpayer dollars.”

Bonner, who serves as the town board liaison to finance said, “This year has proven to be challenging for everyone who is trying to make ends meet and the town is no exception. Thanks to supervisor Romaine’s leadership and the efforts of commissioner of finance Tamara Branson and chief of operations Matt Miner, we have maintained our strong financial position, and we continue to move in the right direction. Brookhaven taxpayers can rest assured that we are working hard to protect their interests."

In Moody’s report, their Ratings Rationale noted the town’s “continued strong financial management” and a “manageable debt burden that is not likely to increase significantly in the next 12 to 24 months.” It also indicates that the town’s stable outlook “reflects the expectation that reserves and liquidity will remain sound.”

In Standard & Poor’s summary, they identify the town’s strengths as:

  • Very strong economy, with access to a broad and diverse metropolitan statistical area (MSA) and a local stabilizing institutional influence;
  • Very strong budgetary flexibility, with an available fund balance in fiscal 2019 of 42 percent of operating expenditures;
  • Strong institutional framework.

The S&P report indicated the highlights of the town's credit overview:

  • Brookhaven has continued its recent positive performance, once again adding to reserves in fiscal 2019. Despite an estimate for a modest drawdown in fiscal 2020, we expect finances to remain strong.
  • The town has changed its revenue and expenditure make-up and identified significant opportunities for cost savings to maintain balanced operations and provide necessary residential services.
  • Brookhaven's GO bonds are eligible to be rated above the sovereign because we believe the Town can maintain better credit characteristics than the nation overall in a stress scenario.

The Standard & Poor’s report also commented that they view the town's management as “very strong, with strong financial policies and practices under our Financial Management Assessment methodology, indicating financial practices are strong, well embedded, and likely sustainable.”

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