Continuing its ongoing success in improving Town finances, Supervisor Joseph Saladino and the Town Board announce that yet another Wall Street agency has upgraded the Town’s bond rating. Moody’s Investors Service assigned the Town an ‘A3’ rating, reflecting continued improvements to the Town’s financial position. This marks the sixth credit rating upgrade since Supervisor Saladino took office just four years ago, and even more impressively, the fourth during the COVID pandemic. This great news assists the Town and its residents tremendously, as the Town will now pay significantly less money in interest expense when bonding for the costs associated with road repaving and other critical infrastructure improvements.
“For the second time in just one week, Wall Street has recognized the Town’s continuing commitment and success in repairing the Town’s finances,” said Supervisor Saladino. “We are so proud that all of the hard work to restore our financial integrity has been successfully recognized. All of our efforts to restrict spending, significantly pay down debt while maintaining a tax cut have demonstrated that we keep our promises to protect taxpayers while delivering all the important services they deserve.”
Acknowledging the Town’s ‘modest debt’ and rapid reparation of its finances, Moody’s praised the Town’s combination of sensible budgetary actions, recent cost cutting and current policies and practices. They specifically recognized ‘strong measures taken by management to reverse the past history of poor budgeting and structural imbalance,’ and acknowledged ‘dramatic improvement.’ Additionally, the report noted that the Town’s ‘2020 surplus is more impressive even than it appears at first blush.’ The report credited the Town for budget trimming even at the height of the pandemic, although Oyster Bay did not receive any CARES Act money.
Since taking office in 2017, Supervisor Saladino and the Town Board have cut property taxes while reducing debt and the operational budget deficit. In fact, the 2019, 2020 and 2021 Town Budgets sustained the $1.3 million property tax cut approved by the Town Board for 2018 by implementing a plan that froze taxes. As a result, $5.2 million is in the pockets of taxpayers rather than the coffers of government. Total Town debt has also declined by a historic $165 million. In addition, Supervisor Saladino and the Town Board successfully eliminated a multi-year operational deficit which hit a high of $44 million under the prior administration, turning it into a $47.6 million surplus as of December 31, 2020. This was the fourth straight surplus achieved by the Saladino administration. As a result of this combined success, the New York State Comptroller’s Office removed the Town of Oyster Bay from its fiscal stress-monitoring list for the first time since the program’s inception in 2013.