Amityville credit rating downgraded

Amityville Village Hall Amityville Village Hall Photo Credit: Alexi Knock

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Moody's Investors Service has downgraded its credit rating of Amityville from A3 to Baa1, citing the village's "very weak financial position" and growing reliance on short-term borrowing.

Moody's maintained the investment-grade status of village debt but put the community on review for further downgrade, saying that a balanced 2014 budget would be critical for future review. The ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded the village in February.

But Amityville Mayor Peter Imbert said Tuesday that the fiscal picture may be brightening for the village, which has been hit hard in recent years by rising pension and health care costs for employees.

The village has received $157,000 in Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement for its response to superstorm Sandy and expects up to $650,000 more from FEMA in the next two weeks, he said.

That cash infusion may mean that the village can avoid floating an $800,000 budget note that Moody's had cited as one reason for concern.

Imbert also said that he was "working on a preliminary budget that will put us on the path to finishing next year with a budget surplus."

That budget, which will take effect June 1, will likely include property tax increases of between 2 and 9.7 percent, he said. The actual size of the increase will depend, he said, on factors including whether the village amortizes or pays at once a $500,000 increase to the pension plan, now about $1.2 million.

Amityville officials also say they are progressing in their bid to recover more than $700,000 they say Suffolk County owes the village for land bought for Nautical Park and in fees owned by Gary Passavia, the developer of a condominium projecton Wellington Place.

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