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Huntington Town maintains strong bond rating
Strong budget management and low debt have allowed the Town of Huntington to continue its AAA bond rating from Fitch Ratings, town officials said.
The AAA rating applies to the $13.43 million in bonds the town expects to sell later this month to finance various capital projects, as well as the town’s $83.9 million in outstanding debt, a town news release said.
“I am gratified that Fitch continues to recognize the way I have managed town finances since becoming supervisor 20 years ago,” Democratic Supervisor Frank P. Petrone said in the release. “As the report notes, under my administration, the Town has made and will continue to make the difficult decisions that control spending, hold down taxes and limit borrowing.”
Fitch also classified the outlook as “stable,” the town said.
According to the town, Fitch Ratings, in a release announcing the decision to maintain the Town’s rating, singled out “conservative budgeting and the Town’s demonstrated ability to control expenses.”
Councilmen Mark Mayoka, a Republican, and Gene Cook, an Independence Party member, issued a statement expressing their concern that the rating relied “on an unaudited report presented by the interim comptroller.” The councilmen said the annual audited report on town finances was two months late and said late filings “can have an adverse effect on our bond rating,” especially if the audited report “is not in agreement” with the unaudited report.
They also said, “It is unfortunate that the only way we balanced the budget last year was by raising taxes.”
Petrone responded, “Since the day each of them took office, Councilmen Cook and Mayoka have been on a campaign to cry wolf and falsely create the impression of a crisis to support their political agenda. They haven’t been successful because the facts are not on their side, but they apparently won’t be happy until they have affected the Town’s bond rating and severely cost the taxpayers. Shame on them.”
All three men are running for office in the fall; Petrone and Cook are among those running for supervisor.