TROY, N.Y. -- Many of us are familiar with or can remember the feeling we got on report card day.
"Oh, I remember those days carrying the report card home, and the signature line on the back that had to be filled out and returned and oh, no," recalled Troy Mayor Patrick Madden.
You were anxious, hopeful and wanting so badly to see straight As.
"I did well, but there was always room for improvement, Patrick," he added.
Earlier this week, the city of Troy also got a grade: an "A2" from Moody's Investor Services. Though expected, it didn't exactly have city officials jumping for joy.
"We made decisions 3, 4, 10 years ago that are biting us today," Madden said, "and had we been able to employ a thoughtful analysis, and this isn't a critical statement, it's a style of budgeting, a style of managing your finances."
But before we move ahead: What is a Moody's Investor Services rating?
"What they're using those for is basically so the investor can go out and look at the ratings that a particular municipality has, and from that rating, they can decide what risk is associated with the bonds that that municipality is issuing," Marvin and Company CPA Managing Director Kevin McCoy explained.
In the case of Troy, the A2 is based on a declining operating fund balance and below-average income levels in a moderately sized tax base. McCoy explained what that means for you at home.
"If you live in a city with a very low rating and they have to borrow money for projects, which is really what they're doing, borrowing for capital projects, then you are paying a little more taxes because of that," McCoy said.
If we look at the trend of the past decade, Troy has slowly improved, up from a BAA2 when former mayor Harry Tutunjian took office in 2003, which stayed steady through Mayor Lou Rosamilia’s tenure. But what will it take to improve the city’s creditworthiness to investors even further?
"Some come in with Comptroller experience and some come in with budget director experience," Madden said.
The mayor is referring to the newly formed budget and finance team. Just like a study group, meeting once a week, five individuals will be tasked with changing the fiscal stability of the city, with the goal of Troy inching up the ratings ladder to a "AAA" score.