“Our stable tax rate, consistent growth in our tax base, coupled with our superior school system has strengthened the Town’s financial position. Since I was first elected in 2005, I have worked to make this upgrade a reality.” Zeoli said.“This upgrade shows that our fiscal policies are working. We have been following a philosophy of ‘doing more with less’ since 2005 and achieving this highest possible upgrade is the outcome.”
“In 2011, Orange was upgraded to AA+. I am happy to report that the finances of Orange continue to be stable and our town continues to grow,” Zeoli said. “This independent assessment by the financial rating agencies is proof positive that our financial position is stronger today than ever before.”
Zeoli gave credit for this upgrade to his team, which include Town Finance Director Al Chiarenzelli. “We have developed a formal Debt Management Policy for submission to the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance this fall, and Selectman Ralph Okenquist and his team are refining the rolling five year Capital Acquisition Plan, also for review and approval later this fall” Zeoli said.
“I re-joined the Zeoli administrative team in 2006 following my retirement from the Trumbull Board of Education,” Chiarenzelli said. “At that time the Town’s rating was a respectable AA-2, which is a reasonable rating. However, a AAA rating speaks to a very well-run and coordinated administrative/finance team and brings with it significantly improved interest rates, and an indication of the most credit-worthy investment. Jim Zeoli and I began the pursuit of this goal by refining the roles of the Finance Department staff, and replacing vacant positions with the most competent candidates we could find. Additionally, Zeoli is a hands-on chief administrator, who has taken the leadership role in human resources, contract negotiations and commercial development.”
Zeoli also credited the Board of Finance, stating, “our Board of Finance does an outstanding job for our town.”
Board of Finance chairman, Kevin Houlihan stated, “I am proud to have worked with Jim Zeoli to make this upgrade a reality.”
“The ability to accomplish this upgrade in these times speaks to Jim Zeoli’s leadership and management style. Over the past two elections, I have told people that they need to support Jim Zeoli when he runs for office because I knew Jim appointed the right people in the key positions needed to keep moving Orange forward,” Houlihan said.
Orange Republican Town Chairman Nancy Nastri said, “this result underscores Jim’s slogan of ‘Proven, Straightforward Leadership.’ Jim Zeoli doesn’t always seek out accolades for all that he does for our Town, but he deserves congratulations for this. Every Orange resident needs to know that this will save us all money.”