Village’s bond rating gets an upgrade
Ocean Beach has garnered a AAA bond rating from Standard & Poor’s, which hailed the village’s “very strong economy, liquidity and debt and contingent liabilities profile” in a recent report.
The S&P report came as the village was considering a new $7.75 million proposed budget that calls for a 7.8 percent tax increase. The village board held a public hearing on the budget Saturday at the F.I. School on Midway and Surf Road in Corneille Estates.
“My board worked hard to be responsible, and it’s a reward,” said Steven Brautigam, village clerk and treasurer, of the bond rating. He added, “This can mean in the future tens of thousands of dollars in savings” on interest rates.
S&P upgraded the bond rating from AA based on the village’s “budgetary flexibility” and fund reserves “of more than 33 percent of expenditures for the past several fiscal years and no plans to spend them down significantly,” the report said. S&P also hailed the village’s “management conditions as strong with “good” financial management practices.”
Brautigam said the village’s ongoing recovery from Sandy made the improved rating even more remarkable.
“They looked at how we survived the storm and the assessments. They asked, ‘Did you lose assessed value? Did you lose taxing ability?” Brautigam said. “It’s a financial goal that is only given if you are responsible.”
He said the new proposed budget reflects realistic goals for rebuilding the village beyond storm recovery.
“No one wants their taxes raised, but you want to come out of the storm bigger and better,” he said. -- SOPHIA CHANG
Library to issue cards made by 10-year-old
Patrons of the Smithtown Special Library District will be able to get new library cards Monday in celebration of National Library Week.
The library cards were designed by 10-year-old Emily Penna, who won a contest for the children’s library cards, and mixed-media artist Jeffrey K. Fisher, who was commissioned to design the adult and teen cards.
Emily’s design features a fairy-tale theme with a frog making googly eyes at a nearby princess and a knight fighting off a fire-breathing dragon.
Emily, a fifth-grader from St. James, said she was inspired to create the design by the books that she loves. “I like ones with magic in it,” she said.
She drew an original picture and colored it with pencils, she said, adding, “It took me like three days.”
Eileen Caulfield, the library district’s head of children’s services, said the library received 84 entries for the children’s contest.
“The designs had to be original, nothing computer generated, copied, or traced, and of course, we could not use any copyrighted material,” she said.
Fisher’s design is an oil painting of Smithtown founder Richard Bull Smith leafing through a book under a tree with Whisper the Bull, as the pair sit on a book that acts as a raft at the mouth of the Nissequogue River.
“My family has been in Smithtown since 1881 … So I wanted to deal with a little bit of the history of Smithtown,” said Fisher, whose work has been published by Readers Digest, Harper Collins and The Smithsonian among others.
The library cards were unveiled during a reception Friday at the Nesconset Branch library at 148 Smithtown Blvd. in Nesconset. - LAUREN R. HARRISON