Moody Improves Hamilton Township’s Financial Outlook
(Hamilton) – At a time when the State of New Jersey’s bond rating has been downgraded and when some rating agencies have warned of additional municipal bond downgrades in the immediate future, Hamilton Township has bucked the trend – yesterday, Moody’s Rating Service improved Hamilton’s financial outlook and removed the “Possible Downgrade” outlook that was previously assigned to the government because of the 2008 financial crisis.
Crediting the financial controls and policy changes implement by the administration of Mayor John Bencivengo, Moody’s expressed its belief that “township finances have stabilized.”
The report states the following…
“In 2008, the township was put under mandatory state supervision for three years after prior management misappropriated funds from the Current Fund for a sewer capital project. At year end 2008 the Current Fund balance fell to $113,000 or .13% of revenues (.-78% of revenues net deferred charges). New management was brought in to implement a financial recovery plan for the township that included 54 layoffs and raising taxes to cover operating deficits from prior years. By the end of FY 2010, the Current Fund balance had been restored to $4.9 million or 4.9% of revenues (unaudited). Due to their successful turnaround, the township was released from state supervision after 16 months. New management continues to work toward rebuilding reserves through conservative budgeting practices and reducing expenditures via privatizing services and shared service agreements.”
This improved outlook from Moody’s follows Standard and Poor’s upgrade of the Township’s bond rating and improved “stable outlook” of the government’s financial position, which occurred in 2010. Now, both Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s have given the Township what is considered a “high grade” bond credit rating.
“At a time when we are witnessing downgrades in government bonds and when even the State of New Jersey has been downgraded, this improved outlook from Moody’s in another positive sign from an independent rating agency that over the past 3 years, we have moved our government’s finances in the right direction,” explains Hamilton Township Mayor John Bencivengo. “It demonstrates that the corrective measures we have taken – through our managerial practices, our efforts to achieve cost savings measures, to reduce spending and to operate with a more efficient workforce, as well as our conservative budgeting practices – have resulted in a positive outlook for our finances and our taxpayers.”
In the attached photograph, Hamilton Township Mayor John Bencivengo and Hamilton Township Chief Financial Officer John Barrett review the good news of Moody’s improved financial outlook for Hamilton Township, at a time when the State of New Jersey’s bond rating was downgraded and when some rating agencies have warned of additional municipal bond downgrades in the immediate future. Photograph courtesy of Hamilton Township