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Long IslandNassau

Hempstead Village board approves $6.75M in bonds for upgrades

The Hempstead Village Board has voted to issue $6.75 million in bonds to pay for upgrades to roads and sewers, purchase a new fire truck and garbage trucks and make other improvements.

Close to $2 million of the bond will be spent to rebuild and repave streets, officials said. About $1.1 million is earmarked for fixing the village's sewer system, and more than $1 million will be used to buy public works equipment. Another $500,000 is to pay for a fire truck with a water tank.

The measure passed last month by a vote of 4-0.

The village has about $44.1 million in outstanding bonds, down from last year's $47.5 million, Village Treasurer Raymond Calame said. It spent $5.9 million last year to service interest and principal on the bond debt. The last borrowing was almost a year ago - $2.4 million for a new fire truck, garbage trucks, storm drains and other upgrades.

Credit-rating agencies have described the village's debt burden as moderate.

In past years, the village's bond rating had fallen to one notch above junk status and hovered on a credit-rating agency watchlist for possible downgrading.

To address that, in 2006, the village issued almost $4.2 million in bonds to plug fund deficits. That year, it also issued $5.7 million in bonds to pay for capital improvements and refunds on property tax appeals.

Last February, a credit-rating agency lifted the village's bond rating again, noting the village's deficit reduction and improved tax collection rates.

The village will request a new rating as required before this summer, when it expects to issue the new bonds, Calame said.

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