Moody’s Investors Service, which among other things researches and grades the creditworthiness of municipalities seeking to issue bonds, downgraded Brookfield’s bond rating in advance of the village issuing $9 million in bonds to pay for future street improvements.
The ratings service on July 15 lowered Brookfield’s rating to A2 from A1, meaning the firm believes the village is a low credit risk to investors in municipal bonds. Moody’s noted that the amount of general obligation debt (that is, debt backed by property taxes) the village will be carrying after the bond sale of $18.7 million.
The A2 rating, according to Moody’s “is indicative of the village’s modestly sized and depreciating tax base” … “satisfactory reserves and narrow operating fund liquidity.” The firm noted “elevated debt and pension liabilities” and also took into account “the village’s limited revenue raising flexibility due to a lack of home-rule status.”
Moody’s did not assign a ratings outlook to Brookfield, but noted that the village’s bond rating could improve in the future with an appreciation in its tax base and growth in property tax revenue, continued growth of its financial reserves and a moderation of its pension liabilities.
The village’s bond rating could be downgraded in the future if the property tax base continues to shrink or if there’s a growth in debt or pension liabilities. The village is planning on issuing a total of about $22 million in bonds over the next five years to pay for a robust street program that will improve about one-third of Brookfield’s residential streets.
The bonds are scheduled to be paid off 10 years after they are issued. Brookfield expects to sell the first $9 million in bonds to investors July 27.