NEW YORK, Dec 3, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service has downgraded to Aa3 from Aa2 the general obligation rating on the City of New Rochelle's (NY) $108 million currently outstanding debt. The debt is secured by the unlimited property tax pledge of the city.
The downgrade to Aa3 reflects the city's weakened financial position driven by declining sales tax and mortgage tax revenues. The Aa3 rating also factors the city's sizable tax base that is expected to remain stable over the long term, above average wealth indices and moderate debt burden which is expected to remain manageable.
CHALLENGED OPERATIONS WEAKEN RESERVESRead more
Writing on his own blog, New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson expressed his disappointment over the downgrade of the city's debt by Moody's Investor Services, announced earlier today.
City’s Bond Rating Slips a Notch
Lousy News Is Unsurprising Sign of the Times
DECEMBER 1, 2010
Budget & Finance
The persistent weak economy and its impact on our finances has led Moody’s Investor Services to downgrade New Rochelle’s bond rating. Many other municipalities are being similarly reevaluated. Fortunately, our new bond rating of Aa3 is still quite good and defined as “of high quality and subject to very low credit risk,” so the City’s access to and cost of capital should be only minimally affected. Nonetheless, I won’t conceal my disappointment, particularly since this news comes only a few years after we celebrated an upgrade in our bond rating. It is an unfortunate sign of the times — lousy, but unsurprising.
New Rochelle Finance Commissioner Howard Rattner announced today that the City of New Rochelle's Bond Rating will but downgraded tomorrow.
We have been informed by Moody’s Investor Services that our bond rating will be downgraded effective tomorrow 12/2/10. Moody’s will send official notification to the newswires on that date. You may recall that the city was upgraded to a rating of Aa3 in early 2007, the first such upgrade in about 70 years. Earlier this year, many of the rating agencies recalibrated municipal bond ratings to enhance the comparability of ratings across entire portfolios of credit ratings. At that time, Moody’s changed our rating to Aa2, a step above the previous rating. This was simply a change in scale and had nothing to do with credit worthiness. Recently, Moody’s performed a periodic “surveillance” on the city’s financial condition, a process they are required to do for all of the clients that they rate. As a result of that surveillance, Moody’s has downgraded the City’s bond rating from Aa2 to Aa3. While acknowledging the City’s sizeable tax base, wealth levels, and continued budget controls, Moody’s cites a weakened financial position resulting from declining sales tax and other revenues and the deterioration of our fund balance over the past three years. Moody’s has revised the ratings of 17 municipalities in New York State since the recalibrated rates were established. Fifteen of those ratings were downgraded including the Village of Harrison (downgraded from Aa2 to Aa3), the Village of Tuckahoe (downgraded from A1 to A2) and Monroe County (downgraded from A2 to A3). The City’s new rating of Aa3 is still a relatively strong rating and is considered by Moody’s to be “of high quality and subject to very low credit risk”. Comparatively, this rating is lower than White Plains, equal to Mount Vernon and stronger than Yonkers. The impact of this rating change will mean slightly higher interest rates on future debt obligations when the City goes to market.
Last Monday night, November 22nd, Mayor Bramson invited neighbors to a community meeting at the colorful and beautiful offices of Cross Cultural Solutions at 2 Clinton Place. Cross Cultural Solutions offers programs where people can volunteer around the world. Their brochure says "With CCS, you can enjoy the flexibility of choosing from 12 countries, start dates year round, and programs from 1 to 12 weeks long." Their offices are filled with photographs, cultural artifacts, pottery and sculpture. To get upstairs, you walk up a wide staircase made of rough hewn logs.
A diverse group of approximately 45 locals met in a round open auditorium with three levels of platforms with chairs on them. The mayor stood at the bottom and the entrance and encouraged all to sign in. A large skylight was centered above the room, which was very warm.
Economic ChallengesRead more
In the proposed 2011 budget, the city has closed Hudson Park on Mondays and Tuesdays to save money. Apparently the park is underutilized and at risk of losing city funding.
On local radio shows, I have heard one councilman looking for ideas. Bob Marrone on WVOX said it might be $1000 a day or week. A city sailing school was mentioned. Some city councilmen are trying to figure out a way to make the park profitable in order to meet the line budget for the two days. It sounds like they are looking for what many businesses call 'alternate revenue streams' or 'ancillary income'.
In an effort to communicate what the public thinks and any ideas that we might have, we are asking here for ideas.Read more
The New Rochelle Citizens Reform Club met on Thursday, November 4 at 7:30 PM, at the American Legion Post 8 Hall, 112 North Ave., New Rochelle. This group meets monthly to discuss a host of local issues.
The first item on tonight's agenda was the proposed Iona Dormitory issue that Greg Varian, an attorney and resident of the area, made a brief report. The dorm is being financed by the NY State Dormitory Authority and is located on the north side of New Rochelle. He highlighted the issues surrounding this new construction citing parking, vehicular traffic, and the surrounding building zoning issues. Iona used to be a commuter school that redefined its self as a residential/dormitory college some years ago.Read more
Attention all New Rochelle Residents
Despite what city management is telling its residents, the City of New Rochelle has once again threatened to eliminate firefighter positions. This threat puts in danger the vital services we provide to you, the citizens of New Rochelle
Today, the city is in the process of preparing its 2010 budget. The City has made it clear that layoffs are a distinct possibility. In fact, it has been brought to the Firefighters’ attention that The City of New Rochelle is seriously contemplating eliminating 16 firefighter positions. That amount is equal to 10% of our current work force.
Presently, the NRFD has 8 positions that remain unfilled due to a hiring freeze unilaterally imposed by the City of New Rochelle. This hiring freeze forces us to operate BELOW recommended staffing levels. Apparently, that sacrifice is not enough for the City of New Rochelle. Instead, the City has threatened to lay-off and eliminate 8 more firefighter positions, on top of the 8 already unfilled.
Over the last thirty (30) years, The New Rochelle Fire Department, made up solely of professional firefighters, has evolved into a full-service emergency response department. The services that we provide far exceed the services of other surrounding departments. In addition to firefighting, we also provide
-Emergency Medical ServicesRead more