The Village of Amityville has received a four-notch bump up in its credit rating from Standard & Poor’s, five years after being downgraded to near-junk status.
The agency has upgraded the village’s general obligation debt to AA-, up from BBB+, noting a “stable” outlook. The upgrade reflects the village’s “improved liquidity profile” with available cash at 11 percent of total expenditures and 152 percent of debt service for the 2017 fiscal year, the agency noted in its report.
Standard & Poor’s officials also noted that the village’s available fund balance grew to $955,000, or 6.3 percent of general fund expenditures — an amount they stated “we no longer consider low nominally.”
The report cites a “credit weakness” in Amityville’s large pension and other post employment benefits “without a plan in place that we think will sufficiently address it.” Such costs totaled 15 percent of the village’s total fund expenditures in 2017, the report stated.
The agency’s rating improvement comes after Standard & Poor’s in 2013 downgraded the village to BBB-, which is one step above junk bond status.
A 2012 audit by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office criticized the village’s finances and found the village board at the time had not “adopted realistic budgets, does not routinely monitor the budget, and has not taken appropriate actions to maintain the Village’s financial stability.” Separately, the Comptroller listed Amityville as a municipality having “significant fiscal stress” for 2013 and 2014. According to a 2016 independent audit, the village’s general fund ended in the red each fiscal year from 2009 to 2014.
Mayor Dennis Siry said the Standard & Poor’s upgrade reflects more than his first year in office.
“I give credit to the whole board for the past couple of years,” he said.