Town finances ‘solid’ says BOF chairman
SALISBURY — Board of Finance Chairman Bill Willis reported that Salisbury is “in a strong financial position” to receive the audited financial statement for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011. He made the announcement at the Feb. 1 town meeting.Willis said in his remarks that Salisbury’s credit rating (measured by Moody’s Investors’ Services) has moved up two places, from A1 to Aa2, for all general obligation debt.The Aa2 designation is two notches below the top rating of Aaa.Willis said the change should lower the cost of borrowing money in the future.The town’s assets of $23,923,016 exceeded its liabilities by $19,342,923 in the 2010-11 fiscal year. Revenues exceeded expenditures by $1,118,857. Salisbury’s revenues come from property taxes (70 percent), operating and capital grants (18 percent), service charges (10 percent) and grants and investment earnings (2 percent).The General Fund balance was $1,626,586, $354,463 of which is earmarked for the next budget in order to reduce the mill rate.The balance of $1,142,566, or 9.18 percent of the total General Fund budget, is unreserved and undesignated. The state’s Office of Policy and Management recommends that towns maintain a surplus of at least 10 percent in order to meet financial emergencies and maintain bond ratings.Salisbury has total outstanding debt of $4,266,324 — $725,377 in school renovation bonds, $3,353,000 in a bond anticipation note (for the new firehouse and transfer station) and $187,847 in equipment loans.Willis noted that state law limits the amount of general obligation debt a town government may issue to seven times its total prior year’s tax collections, which would make the maximum allowable debt for Salisbury $80 million — “significantly more than the town’s outstanding general obligation debt.”“The town auditor, in their financial report ... has shown that the town is in solid financial condition with no major adverse fiscal issues,” Willis summed up.