Village of Ridgewood CFO Dorothy Stikna disclosed during Wednesday evening’s Village Council Work Session that the Village’s AAA Bond Rating could be at risk because of the increasing percentage of debt service as compared to the Village’s overall budget.
During a discussion about financing the controversial North Walnut Street parking garage/retail complex, Village Manager James Ten Hoeve had informed Village Council members that municipal AAA Bond Ratings generally become subject to scrutiny when the debt service percentage approaches 10% of total budget.
Following Ten Hoeve’s comments, Ms. Stikna was called to the meeting room podium where she confirmed that the Village is now approaching the 10% debt service/total budget ratio. A loss of our AAA Bond Rating would definitely result in higher costs for borrowing money.
Despite the startling revelations regarding upcoming Village Hall layoffs and a possible increase in interest rates, Village Council members voted to:
1) purchase the Schedler property on West Saddle River Road for an as yet undisclosed amount (“to preserve the integrity of the neighborhood” – Village Mayor David T. Pfund)
2) proceed with plans to construct $10 million parking garage (preliminary cost estimates) and retail complex on North Walnut Street
Surprisingly, Deputy Mayor Keith D. Killion and Councilwoman Anne Zusy both voted “yes” to continue funding the controversial parking garage project. Killion and Zusy had both opposed this project prior to May’s Village Council election.