Money management: A bump in town's credit rating while audit shows year-end surplus

Money management: A bump in town's credit rating while audit shows year-end surplus

CUMBERLAND - The town finished the last fiscal year $1.4 million in the black, a newly released audit of Fiscal Year 2013 is showing, for a total accumulated surplus account now of $12.35 million.

Total debt for the same Fiscal Year 2013 decreased by $4.8 million, the largest drop in years, and the town's assets increased by $3.67 million for a total valuation on the town - both property and funds - of $84.7 million.

The School Department finished in the black, too, but only because it tapped $364,971 of its fund balance or surplus account that on June 30, 2013 totaled $3.18 million. Schools had anticipated spending as much as $1.26 million of its fund balance.

A full discussion of the audit is expected at the March 19 Town Council meeting.

The good news comes on top of last week's announcement from the Standard & Poors crediting rating service that Cumberland's rating was bumped up another notch, to AA, up from AA-.

"The stable outlook reflects Cumberland's progress toward improving its financial performance, budget management practices, and reserves, while also instituting cost-control measures and reform measures associated with its long-term liabilities," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Timothy Little in a statement.

In July of last year, S&P raised Cumberland's rating from A to AA-.

The 108-page audit report includes interpretation by Finance Director Brian Silvia, but primarily reflects the work of the Bacon & Co. accounting firm.

It notes continued gains in the Water Department that again finished the fiscal year with a surplus and repaid $600,000 toward an accumulated debt to the town's general fund that now stands at $2.7 million. In recent years, credit rating agencies had taken the town to task for having to support the utility as it ran short on revenue.

Comments

So, instead of raising taxes, how about lowering them for a change?

Superintendent Champi and his staff are the true shining light in this article. The water department was being funded from the Town's general fund, in forms of "loans" for years....He took the challenge and is winning. Rather than a draw on the Town's funds the Department NOT ONLY made major improvements but also paid back $600k...no small task...

The town's budget has been heading in the right direction for some time now....it's good to have this good news about the Water Dept.

Thank you Chris and Staff.