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Moody’s pulls Oyster Bay bond rating, citing failure to file records

Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, center, speaks during

Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, center, speaks during a hearing at Oyster Bay Town Hall on Oct. 13, 2015. Photo Credit: Chuck Fadely

Moody’s Investors Service withdrew its bond rating for Oyster Bay on Tuesday because the town failed to provide its audited financial report for 2014.

The town on Monday disclosed in financial documents that problems with a software system it began using two years earlier had caused the failure to provide financial records to Moody’s.

Moody’s spokesman David Jacobson said the town could reapply for a rating when it files the audited financial statements.

The loss of the rating will increase the cost of borrowing for the town. The town plans to borrow $122.6 million in short-term notes on Wednesday. In anticipation of the withdrawal of the bond rating, Oyster Bay Finance Director Robert Darienzo said in a statement Monday that it would have no impact. The town did not comment further on Tuesday after the Moody’s action.

The town is still rated by Standard & Poor’s, which assigns its BBB rating to the town.

Two Oyster Bay Town Board members said they first learned about problems with the financial statements last month when Moody’s warned the town it could lose its rating for not filing them.

Councilman Anthony Macagnone said the town board should meet with Moody’s to find out what happened.

“If it’s a software glitch — that can be fixed and it should have been fixed,” Macagnone said. He said the rating withdrawal “reflects poorly on all of us” and that he wants to restore residents’ faith in their government.

“The residents deserve an answer and so does the town board,” Macagnone said.

Councilman Joseph Pinto said the situation was “disappointing” and “impacts each and every taxpayer.”

“Our taxpayers deserve better,” Pinto said.

The town ended 2015 with $853.4 million in debt, including special district debt and short-term debt.

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