With less than a month to go until Town Manager Kaj Dentler presents the fiscal year 2019 budget, the Town Council was given high praise for how it operated in calendar year 2017.
David Rose, of Davenport & Company, presented the Comprehensive Financial Review to the council Jan. 22.
“I think the best way to say we’re in a good position is—we’re in the rarified air of having a triple triple. There are three major rating agencies and all three of those have the town at the highest possible rating,” of AAA, Rose noted.
That stellar credit rating has helped the town save on construction projects, take advantage of lower interest rates, and put away more money toward paying off its debt. To put it in perspective, Leesburg is just one of 38 city or town governments nationwide that have achieved such high credit marks.
Leesburg finished 2017 in a strong financial position, with the town’s unassigned fund balance growing by $700,000 thanks to a strong growth in commercial revenues. The town was also able to reach its goal of achieving an unassigned fund balance equal to no less than 20 percent of General Fund expenditures two years ahead of schedule, as part of its Long Term Sustainability Plan. The town’s debt service reserve also rose by $1.4 million.
One conversation that will continue ahead of budget deliberations is the assignment of the almost $1.4 million in unassigned fund balance from fiscal year 2017. Dentler had proposed using the entire fiscal year 2017 fund balance to help pay for projects in the Capital Asset Replacement Fund to catch up with the maintenance of town infrastructure. He had also said $125,000 from the surplus could be used to pay for the transportation master plan consulting fees. However, the council held off on a decision of what to do with the fund balance last week, postponing the decision to a future meeting.