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Moody's gives Smithtown high bond rating

Pedestrians use the crosswalk at the corner of

Pedestrians use the crosswalk at the corner of Lawrence Avenue and Main Street in Smithtown. (March 2, 2011) Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Property values in Smithtown dipped slightly in recent years, but the town has shown "relative stability during the economic downturn," Moody's Investor Service said in a new credit report.

Moody's assigned an Aa1 rating to the town's sale later this week of bonds to raise $2.28 million for several small purchases, including a street sweeper, a fire-training simulator and a methane recovery system.

In the report released Friday, Moody's gave the same rating, its second highest, to the town's previous debt of $14.8 million.

Moody's cited Smithtown's low debt, large tax base and "above-average wealth indicators." Per capita income in the town far exceeds state and national figures, Moody's said.

Nevertheless, assessed property values in Smithtown declined 1.3 percent last year and 0.8 percent so far this year, Moody's said. The declines were due to limited new development and successful tax appeals, Moody's said.

But the town has doubled its cash reserves in the past four years, to $17.4 million from $9.5 million, Moody's said, adding that it "expects the town's financial position will remain healthy."
 

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