Hempstead Town Aces Wall Street Credit Ratings Once Again, Moody's Assigns Township Highest Grades

Wall Street has reaffirmed its high regard for Hempstead Town's financial practices.

In the midst of crafting a tax-freeze 2012 budget proposal, Supervisor Kate Murray's administration proudly announces another accolade that reflects Hempstead Town's prudent fiscal practices. Moody's Investor Services, a leading Wall Street credit rating firm, has given Hempstead Town its highest quality bond rating (Aaa).

Moody's forecasts a healthy and stable financial outlook for Hempstead Town, which steers clear of the financial gimmicks implemented by some struggling governments at various levels. Hempstead Town's fiscal prowess will be reflected in the 2012 budget proposal, which will hold the line on town taxes and preserve all of the vital services that residents enjoy and upon which they rely.

"While other governments are slashing vital programs, the Town of Hempstead is maintaining its array of life-enhancing services for residents while holding the line on taxes," Murray said. "Gaining continued respect from the top Wall Street credit rating agencies enables us to continue providing those integral services for our residents."

In issuing its highest rating to Hempstead Town, Moody's lauded the municipality's "conservative budgeting practices" and its "development of multi-year financial forecasts" that have led to "ample financial flexibility."

According to Moody's, Hempstead Town boasts a "history of solid financial performance . . ." Moody's also projected the large, diversified tax base of America's largest township to remain stable.

Hempstead Town's budget outlook is bright, especially when contrasted with other governments, at various levels, including the state of New York. Several governments like that of the Empire State, face serious fiscal issues. A recent New York Times article compared New York's and California's "debt overload" to the circumstances that brought about the economic collapse in Greece. These struggling governments have had an overreliance on non-recurring "one-shot" revenues and excessive borrowing to balance budgets - Hempstead Town does not.

"While some other governments are struggling to stay afloat, we are fortunate that our conservative budgeting practices have kept our township's fiscal health in impressive shape," Murray said. "We will not resort to over-reliance on 'one-shot' revenues, which would negatively impact our financial future and expose our taxpayers to unwise financial risk."

Receiving the highest bond rating adds to a mantle of financial achievements that Hempstead Town has earned during the Murray administration. Earlier this year, Hempstead Town was awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Award, the highest municipal budgeting honor given by the independent Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), for the seventh consecutive year.

The GFOA award is bestowed on municipalities that demonstrate transparent and strong financial reporting practices. Recipients are expected to follow extensive accounting guidelines, while also demonstrating a high level of honesty and accountability.

"Being recognized by lead Wall Street credit rating agencies, as well as respected independent governmental financial professionals serves as a testament to our township's fiscal responsibility," Murray said. "Maintaining respect on Wall Street reinforces the trust of residents on Main Street."

While Hempstead Town receives financial accolades, it continues to offer important services that enhance the quality-of-life for its residents. Indeed, a $50 million "Improve Hempstead" capital upgrade program has been approved by the town to repave roadways, restore marine bulkheads, enhance the town's animal shelter and construct a recreational and program building for residents with special needs, among other important projects.

"I remain committed to crafting a responsible tax-freeze budget for 2012 that will maintain the confidence of Wall Street while justifying the trust of neighbors on Main Street," concluded Murray. "Hempstead Town continues to demonstrate that great services and responsible budgeting can go hand-in-hand."