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Burlington Addressing Finances

Nov 9, 2012

Burlington is taking steps to get its financial house in order.

Burlington is taking steps to get its financial house in order.

Moody’s Investment Services assigned an A1 rating and a negative outlook to the city’s debt late last year.

The company says it based the outlook, in part, on there being no concrete plans to build the city’s cash reserves.

That appears to be changing as the city council has adopted 38 financial management policies.

City Manager Jim Ferneau says these policies will help get Burlington back on track and hopefully restore its credit outlook.

“We are in a reactive manner and we are trying to get to where we are in a proactive position when it comes to our financial issues,” says Ferneau.  “This will help us get into that position, but it will take a period of time to do it.”

Ferneau says Burlington’s budget has too many accounts carrying negative balances.

The financial management policies cover a wide range of topics including debt limits, investment selection, TIF districts and cash reserves.

Several examples:

Policy 1 – Credit Ratings

The City of Burlington seeks to maintain the highest possible credit ratings for all categories of short- and long-term general obligation and revenue debt that can be achieved without compromising the delivery of basic City services and the achievement of adopted City policy objectives.

The City recognizes that external economic, natural, or other events may from time-to-time affect the creditworthiness of its debt.  Nevertheless, the City is committed to ensuring that actions within their control are prudent.

Policy 7 – Balanced Budget

The City administration will compile and submit to the City Council a balanced budget by the first Monday in February of each year.

Policy 15 – Risk Management

The City will participate in a risk management program to minimize losses and reduce costs.  This program will also protect the City against catastrophic losses through the combination of insurance, self-insurance and various federal and state programs.