June 11, 2014 - Good news for the Village of Oxford.
Standard & Poor's affirmed the village's long-term 'A' credit (or bond) rating – the third highest rating available – and revised the municipality's financial outlook from "negative" to "stable."
"The stable outlook reflects our view that the village's finances have stabilized since fiscal (year) 2011 . . . due to cost savings as well as a reduction in litigation costs," stated a June 6 report issued by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.
"Given our view that the village's finances are strong, we do not anticipate lowering the rating."
Councilwoman Sue Bossardet was "pleased" by the news.
"I thought it was a good report overall," she said. "I think it shows that the (village) staff and council have been doing a good job – not that there isn't room for improve ment . . . I think that it shows that we're all doing our job."
Bossardet noted she believes the current council has been "vigilant about watching expenses," being accountable and "trying to make the right decisions."
"I think the staff has honored those decisions and has been working within the budget," she said. "We've been trying to find ways to save money and I think that this (credit rating) shows it."
Standard & Poor's credit ratings express the firm's opinion about the ability and willingness of a public or private entity to meet its financial obligations in full and on time. These ratings can also speak to the credit quality of a particular debt issue, such as a municipal bond, and the relative likelihood the issue may default.
An 'A' rating means the village's "capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is still strong" despite the fact that it's "somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions," according to Standard & Poor's ratings definitions.
The firm's rating system ranges from the highest 'AAA,' which denotes an extremely strong capacity to meet financial commitments, to the lowest 'D,' which represents default on financial commitments.
This is the third consecutive year the village has received an 'A' rating.
In January 2012, Standard & Poor's downgraded the village's rating to an 'A.'
Prior to that, the municipality had held an 'AA-' rating since 2008.
The village's upgrade to a "stable" outlook is a positive given that it received a "negative" outlook in January 2012 and again in March 2013. The outlook assesses the potential direction of a long-term credit rating over a period that typically ranges from six months to two years.
A "negative" outlook indicates a rating may be lowered whereas a "stable" outlook means a rating is not likely to change.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.