Montclair's Economic Outlook Points Upward

A recent Standard & Poor's rating affirmed the township's AA- standing.


Montclair’s financial outlook is better than it has been in years, according to a recent report by Standard & Poor’s. 

The rating service reaffirmed both Montclair’s AA- rating and its economic outlook of stable on its debt earlier this month. Business Manager Marc Dashield said the recent rating could point toward a positive trend for Montclair.

“The good news about the rating is ... [that] based on the fact that the town continues to do what we are doing right now, [Standard & Poor’s] could foresee us getting a rating increase,” said Dashield. 

In addition, the township is also expected to save approximately $315,000 over nearly 10 years after it refinanced about $2.7 million in general obligation bonds this month. The decision to refinance amounts to an 11-percent savings during the remaining life of the bonds.

The township is expected to finalize the refinancing in the coming weeks, said Dashield. The original $2.95 million bond was taken out in the early 2000s to fund pensions and will be paid through 2021. 

The more stable outlook is a far cry from what the township was facing after the financial meltdown of 2008. By 2010, Montclair’s surplus dropped to the lowest level in years (about $2.2 million), revenue projections fell short and budget problems all contributed to its economic outlook being downgraded. 

But Dashield said the township has since worked to right the financial ship.

The workforce in town was decreased by 10 percent, a property reassessment was done in 2011, and various cost-saving measures were implemented -- all of which brought Montcliar’s surplus up to $3.3 million at the end of 2011. 

Dashield noted that maintaining a stable surplus should to be the town’s biggest goal during the next few years.

“We are being very ... smart in how we look at our revenues,” said Dashield. “... In 2010 we almost used our entire surplus ... in our budget. Now we are being very conservative ... so we don’t drop our surplus each year by putting it in the budget.”  

The township’s overall debt is projected to be approximately $207 million at the end of the year, down from about $221 million last year. 

Right of Center October 20, 2012 at 12:06 PM
We're floating bonds to pay pension obligations? This is the equivalent of putting your mortgage payment on your credit card every month. And our Township Manager is touting how "smart" this is? Is this some kind of sick, Orwellian joke?
Cary Africk October 20, 2012 at 12:25 PM
The good news, though, it that we're going to save $315,000. Over ten years. That's $31K per year. Tell me again how much money we lost on failing to bill the Sienna for taxes?
Adam October 20, 2012 at 03:23 PM
A rate increase? Don't count on it. The debt authorized to be issued went down. The actual debt on which we pay interest has not gone down by this amount. Spin, spin, spin. However, saving $315,000 on the refinancing is good. How about a reduction in our taxes? That would be good news for residents. When is the town manager moving to Montclair so he'll have a vested interest?
Ron Mullen October 20, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Revenues? They are coming on the backs of taxpayers who saw 60-to 65% increases in their last two bills ( 1st ward) . The first quarter of 2013 we are seeing 35% increases . Mr Dashield is destroying middle class families in Montclair. This town has become the " town of pain" with these extremely high tax increases. By the way where is the 2-3 million educational surplus that was supposed to be used to reduce taxes.?
allaboutthenumbers123 October 20, 2012 at 03:29 PM
This guy says a lot that never gets backed up or even adds up. He told us he took bids on the health insurance for Montclair employees and chose the one that was the best, yet there is no evidence of bids or rfps anywhere on the town website.
john clue October 20, 2012 at 03:30 PM
I refer to Cary's comments, it only saves us $31K per year. I don't think taxes are going down from that amount...........and yes, I am also wondering why we are floating bonds to pay for our pension obligations? Whatever TC did that one we all should be looking closely at how irresponsible a move that was that we are now paying for. No one on that TC should hold their head in any position but down.
allaboutthenumbers123 October 20, 2012 at 04:26 PM
"The workforce in town was decreased by 10 percent,..." he has never supported this with any details. There were 410 in 2009 (transitional aid application) and in 2011 there were 401 (townstat). That is not a 10% decrease. Salaries & Wages have only gone up. There is over $1.5M in salaries allocated from the municipal budget to the water utility.
Cary Africk October 20, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Saving $315,000 is good provided there weren't other options that could have saved considerably more. Not much transparency going on here. And without the Capital Finance Committee I believe nothing.
montclairgurl October 20, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Can someone please tell me how I can get a municipal job here? The salaries and benefits are great and even a basic level of competence is not required.
Cary Africk October 20, 2012 at 11:24 PM
gurl, a) there needs to be an opening b) you need to be connected c) the state approves all Montclair hires
john clue October 21, 2012 at 10:26 AM
Cary, the state approves all Montclair hires? That is interesting so I am wondering why that is?
Cary Africk October 21, 2012 at 11:48 AM
john, We applied to do some financial stuff that was beyond the rules. Quite frankly, I can't remember what it was (bad night's sleep!). As a condition, the state gets to approve our hires. Sort of like Trenton.
Adam October 21, 2012 at 01:18 PM
ROC, the debt was taken out to fund extra pension benefits to promote early retirements some time ago. It wasn't the regular annual pension expense. They should do an analysis to determine if it makes sense to promote some early retirements again. The staff is too top heavy. It could move some of the many highly compensated senior people along and allow for the town to hire more at lower rates. This would help with policing the streets. With the increase in break ins around town, we need more lower ranking police out on the streets.
frank rubacky October 21, 2012 at 02:53 PM
bonding tax appeal refunds.


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