Sunday, September 5, 2010

Westfield, New Jersey gets a debt rating downgrade

This past week,  the Town of Westfield, located about 25 miles southwest of New York City, had its debt rating reduced by Moody's Investors Service to Aa2. This community has about 30,000 residents and a median family income twice the national average. Notable residents have included Charles Addams (cartoonist for The New Yorker magazine, and creator of The Addams Family), Butch Woolfolk (National Football League running back), Jeff Torborg (Major League Baseball player and manager), Kevin Kelly (founder of Wired magazine) and Robert Greifeld (CEO of NASDAQ).
I grew up in this town during the 1960s and 1970s. It is an upper-middle class commuter town known for its good schools with good sports teams. Today, it faces challenges confronting many communities across the U.S. Its tax base has contracted. The State of New Jersey has placed limits on the town's ability to increase property-taxes. Now, as this suburan community struggles to meet its expense obligations, it has reduced municipal jobs. Bottom  Line: We may be near the economic bottom of the financial crisis, but we are not out of the woods.

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