Fiscal conservatism, strong reserves allow Monroe to maintain AAA bond rating

Monroe Town Hall, 7 Fan Hill Road. Photo by John Babina

MONROE, CT — The town of Monroe maintained its AAA bond rating, according to a report from the rating agency, S&P Global. It is the highest possible rating, which allows the town to have the lowest borrowing costs for projects.

First Selectman Terry Rooney said town leaders’ financial goals are to create annual budgets that ensure goods and services are taken care of with a conservative approach, and to maintain a high bond rating.

Rooney, who is in his first term, credits efforts of the previous administration led by Ken Kellogg, Finance Director Ronald Bunovsky Jr., Assistant Director Heidi Meade and their staff, and the Board of Finance for the AAA rating.

“What benefited this credit rating was our consistent financial protections in areas that have been known to be volatile,” he said. “Going through that process, it was very clear to me that Monroe is not only being run in an efficient way, but also in a cautious manner.”

Rooney said the town’s recent cybersecurity efforts were also looked upon favorably by the rating agency. “There is considerable knowledge in regard to the need for due diligence in that area,” he said.

The first selectman said the cohesiveness town officials have working with the Finance Department, the IT Department and the Board of Education were an important factor in Monroe’s AAA bond rating. For it to remain strong, the rating agency says consistent collaboration is needed.

“We are doing this very well and will continue to do so in the future,” Rooney said.

The town will also have to maintain its undesignated fund balance at a healthy level.

“We could lower the rating if the town has a significant reduction in fund balance, whether due to recurring imbalances or budgeted drawdowns,” the report says.

“S&P’s affirmation of the AAA rating on the town’s general obligation debt reflects the town’s commitment to maintain stable finances and strong reserves, supported by sound financial policies and procedures established and implemented over the past 10 to 12 years,” Bunovsky said.

Monroe improved its bond rating from AA to AAA in 2021. Bunovsky said being rated AAA again is confirmation of the town’s fiscal process.

“It’s conservative budgeting, maintaining strong reserves and a strong local economy,” he said. “Terry and the current administration was key to getting it reaffirmed. Mike Manjos was a large part getting us to where we are today,” Bunovsky added of the longtime Board of Finance chairman who recently resigned to move to Pennsylvania.

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1 Comment

  1. Achieving, and more importantly maintaining a triple AAA is not an easy task. There is a lot of thought, and tough decisions that have to be constantly be made. It should also be pointed out how ‘forward thinking’ the enhancement of Cyber measures that are being made.

    Congrats to the Town, the 1st Selectman, and all of those involved in making this possible.

    Sean O’Rourke

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