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Hempstead Town financial outlook ‘positive,’ says Standard & Poor

Hempstead Town Hall in an undated photo.

Hempstead Town Hall in an undated photo. Credit: Google

The Town of Hempstead received an upgrade to a “positive” financial outlook by Standard & Poor’s credit rating agency.

Town officials on Sunday announced the improvement, which was noted in an S&P report issued last week.

“The positive outlook reflects the gradual improvement in the town’s 2015 operations coupled with 2016 year-end cash projections showing a surplus and a return to positive general fund reserve levels,” according to the report. “The outlook revision further incorporates the recent settlements of certain litigations.”

Standard & Poor’s noted the town’s “ongoing cuts in discretionary spending” and concluded the outlook could be further upgraded if officials maintain a balanced budget as well as increase and maintain the reserves. However, agency officials wrote that the town’s “budgetary flexibility is weak.”

“I’ve worked very hard with my management team to drastically cut government costs and scrupulously manage the town’s budget, showing the highest regard for Hempstead Town’s taxpayers,” Supervisor Anthony Santino said in a news release.

In October, S&P upgraded Hempstead Town from a “developing” to “stable” financial outlook, with an increased bond rating of A+.

In February, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the town’s bond rating for a third straight review but raised its financial outlook. Moody’s downgraded the town’s credit rating from Aa2 to Aa3, citing a “significant narrowing available fund balance” on $337 million in debt, Newsday has reported. Moody’s focused its report on the town’s finances through 2015.

Moody’s analysts revised the outlook from poor to stable, citing the town’s first balanced budget and other factors in 2017.

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