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Maybe Batavia isn’t so bad after all.

Two weeks after a consultant report called Batavia residents "pessimistic" about their city, City Hall today released the results of a bond rating review by rating agency Moody’s. And according to the review, Batavia is performing better than Moody’s ever expected.

Six years ago, Moody’s downgraded the City’s credit rating from Baa1 (A1) to Baa2 (A2). Moody's called the city "vulnerable to a weakened economy." At the time, Batavia was operating at a deficit and had no solid plan for future growth or financial goals.

It's a different story today. In a report dated June 2011, Moody’s notes that the city is now operating in surplus, and has been for the past four years. The report also points out that Batavia is building its reserves, and has an aggressive infrastructure improvement plan – all enough to merit a “positive outlook.”

City Manager Jason Molino says these sorts of pats on the back are important, especially in challenging times.

"The short and long-term planning that City Council has embraced, those efforts are finally starting to show results," Molino says. "The Moody's outlook shows that we're doing the right things budgetarily."

The improved success and outlook have, of course, coincided with Molino's tenure as Batavia City Manager. But he won't attribute it all to his own work.

"I'm honored to be a part of it...but I think the City Council is the major group responsible for (the positive outlook)," he says. "And city staff have implemented very well the direction that City Council gives."

Moody’s says the city is still vulnerable, and the population is not growing very quickly, both challenges. But despite that, they say there are many signs the Financial Health strategic plan is working.

CLICK HERE to read Jason Molino's entire report to City Council, including the Moody's Outlook, analysis of the 2% property tax cap, and budget challenges for 2012/13

A prepared slide from Molino's presentation on the Moody's report
Above, a portion of City Manager Jason Molino's presentation on the Moody's bond rating report

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