Moody’s gives Town of Hempstead highest bond rating

Moody’s gives Town of Hempstead highest bond rating
The Town of Hempstead received the highest bond rating by Moody's Investors Service. (Photo from the Island 360 archives)

Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the Town of Hempstead’s bond rating from Aa1 to Aaa, the highest level, following federal funding the municipality received during the coronavirus pandemic.

The organization cited a wealthy tax base in the town, along with record-high housing prices and lauded its ability to manage costs while simultaneously managing debt.

The town’s financial outlook, according to Moody’s, appears to be stable and should “remain sound over the next two years given strong management.”

The town will have approximately $522 million in general obligation limited tax bonds, an estimated $57 million in public improvement serial bonds, which are categorized into three sections, according to officials.

The Series A bonds provide financing for various capital projects, Series B bonds will finance bond anticipation notes to fund litigation and Series C bonds will finance the Franklin Square Water District, according to officials.

Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin, in a statement, said the boosted rating reflecta town officials running a “tight ship” and “crunching the numbers every month.”

“It’s the true oversight of town government,” Clavin continued. “It’s a win for residents and an acknowledgment of the hard work we’re doing in the town.”

Officials said the town received more than $180 million in federal funds over the past two years from the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the funds were given to local hospitals, first responders, schools and universities. The town is also expected to receive future revenue from various projects, including the Nassau Hub.

Last year, officials said, the town used more than $22 million in reserve funds to balance its budget. That portion of the money came from $26 million in federal aid, according to officials. 

Moody’s said a “significant increase” in long-term liabilities and the use of reserve funds to balance the budget are contributing factors to a potential downgrade in its bond rating. The town, according to the report, is expected to dip into its reserve funds to balance the budget next year as well.

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