FISHKILL – Fishkill’s financial future is looking a bit brighter, though there’s still work to be done, said bond credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Services.
While Moody’s kept the town’s bond rating at Baa3, the agency’s lowest investment grade rating, it revised Fishkill’s outlook to positive, the ratings firm said in a news release.
This means the municipality’s financial situation is still “negative,” but recovering, according to Moody’s.
Years of operating deficits led to negative balances in most major funds, and the town has a history of failing to make timely debt service payments as recently as 2010, Moody’s said.
But “management has improved oversight of debt service payments and has committed to ensuring timely payments going forward,” Moody’s said.
Fishkill’s outlook was raised to “stable” from “negative” in August 2013.
Bond credit ratings affect a municipality’s borrowing costs.
“We appreciate Moody’s appraisal of our fiscal improvement,” said Town Supervisor Bob LaColla. “However, there is still much work to do,” and officials will keep working to improve conditions.
Fishkill still has a “weak” net cash position, but they’ve cut expenses, raised taxes — much to the frustration of many local residents — and put together an official multi-year deficit reduction plan, which should keep improving the struggling municipality’s “financial position and eliminate the deficit levels” by the end of 2015, Moody’s reported.
There’s still a fund balance deficit of $853,000 across the major operating funds, Moody’s said.
But that’s down from a $4.8 million deficit across those funds at the end of 2011, LaColla and the bond agency said.