The following is a media release from the Town of Ashland submitted to SOURCE.
ASHLAND – The Town of Ashland announced this afternoon, Feb. 12, Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”) Rating Agency recently affirmed the town’s “AAA” bond rating, the highest credit rating given to municipalities.
The rating review was performed in anticipation of the issuance of $9 million in General Obligation bonds for a number of items including the recent acquisitions of the Valentine property and Rail Transit District, and the feasibility study for the new Mindess School.
Standard & Poor’s analyzes communities in advance of borrowings in order to assess the creditworthiness of a municpality.
They do this by looking at all aspects of the Town’s finances, including: Economy, Management, Budgetary Performance, Budgetary Flexibility and Liquidity, and Debt and Liability Profile.
Notably, S&P praised the town’s financial management, upgrading this characteristic to “Very Strong” from its previous “Strong” assessment, based in large part upon its development and consistent adherence to strong financial policies. It also increased the town’s budgetary flexibility to “Very Strong” from the previous rating of “Strong” based on stronger than projected budgetary performance.
Town Manager Michael Herbert said “Bond ratings are critical independent and objective verification of the town’s financial management practices and financial position. Our AAA rating is a testament to the collaborative work environment that we have fostered among the Town’s key stakeholders to both chart and achieve our goals.”
As a “AAA” community, Ashland will secure the most favorable rates when going to the capital markets when borrowing for large infrastructure projects.
This will in turn lead to significant taxpayer savings when financing large projects such as the future Mindess School project and downtown streetscape work.
Herbert was also quick to praise the Town’s finance team, led by Finance Director/Town Accountant Brittany Iacaponi. “Our credit rating also sends a strong message to taxpayers that our financial management team is committed to being responsible stewards of the funds that we receive, looking at not only the short term but long term impacts of our decisions.”
Standard & Poor’s also reaffirmed the Town’s “stable” outlook, due to its strong reserves supported by strong management practices. It did note however that rising Pension and Other Post-Employment Benefits (“OPEB”) costs could potentially pressure the debt and contingent liability profile. However S&P also noted that this is unlikely due to the town’s demonstrated strong management and budgetary flexibility.