The credit effect of the recent snowstorm and ensuing power outage on individual municipalities in Connecticut will depend on each local government’s level of financial flexibility, measured by existing liquidity and budgetary cushion, Moody’s Investors Service said.
“For many cities and towns, the storm cleanup has likely used a considerable portion of the snow and ice removal budget paying overtime for public safety and other areas,” the agency said in a report.
It cited Avon, a Hartford suburb with a general obligation bond rating of Aaa and a stable outlook, which estimated costs for debris removal and other cleanup efforts at $2 million to $3 million, compared with its total annual operating budget of $68.9 million.
Moody’s also said school districts, many of which are part of towns’ budgets, may face increased costs as a result of school closures, which in some instances lasted about a week.
“Although the effects of the October storm and [tropical storm] Irene financially stress many local communities ahead of the winter snow season, municipalities have some time to offset these unanticipated expenditures with reductions in other areas,” according to Moody’s.
Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s rate Connecticut’s GO bonds AA, while Moody’s rates them Aa2.