by Susan O’Neill
Standard & Poors gave Sugar Grove good news this month-the village has retained its A+ bond rating.
â€œShe’s (the Standard & Poors representative) impressed with the way you guys manage things,â€ Speer Financial, Inc. assistant vice president Brenda Housten said.
Housten said S&P liked the fact that the village was keeping a close watch on its finances, making adjustments before it became a problem.
â€œWe’re not waiting for the other shoe to drop,â€ Sugar Grove Finance Director Justin VanVooren said. â€œWe’re being proactive in looking at income versus expenses.â€
The village reviews its budget on a monthly basis to make sure it is on track. VanVooren emphasized that the village has not cut services to the residents that they have come to expect, such as snow plowing.
However, with the recent reduction in the number of building permits and taxes, officials have made cuts in new programs and non-essential services until village revenues increase again.
Village President Sean Michels said S&P was impressed with all of the commercial development that continues in the village, as well as the school construction and infrastructure work taking place.
The re-evaluation by S&P was a necessary step when the village decided to re-fund bonds it had issued in 2001 for the new public works building. VanVooren explained that since then, the rates had fallen a full percentage point, from 4.45 percent to 3.46 percent.
The process is similar to one in which a homeowner refinances his or her mortgage when interest rates fall. With the re-funding, the village will save $120,000 over a 10- to 12-year period, VanVooren said.
The village will take the $30,000 cost to issue the re-funding bonds out of the proceeds of the 2009 bonds and will not incur any costs unless these bonds are issued.
â€œWe were very pleased to maintain the rating, especially with the economy the way it is,â€ Michels said.