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Greenfield bond rating gets welcome boost

GREENFIELD — The town has received a bond rating upgrade from Standard & Poor’s, which the mayor says is good news for Greenfield and any future borrowing it may do.

Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services has assigned the town a “AA” long-term rating and a “AA-” underlying, or overall, rating. Previously both categories of borrowing were rated a simple “A.”

“This is very good news, particularly as we issue the bonds for our new high school,” said Mayor William Martin. “This is a credit to hard work by everyone on our finance team, as well as the Town Council, for working with us to position and protect the town’s future capital projects.”

Martin said the stable outlook on the underlying rating reflects the town’s strong budget flexibility and performance and its good financial policies and practices.

“Standard & Poor’s said strong financial management by the town has created an enviable position for the town financially,” said Martin.

Martin said what the upgrade means for the town is that Greenfield will receive lower interest rates on its long-term borrowing.

“That means decreased costs to the town,” said Martin. “We’re always looking for ways to save or make money and this is going to help.”

Standard & Poor’s said in its opinion, Greenfield’s budgetary flexibility has improved and the town’s finances are stable.

The town currently has about $3 million in reserves, which shows stability when it comes to bond ratings, according to Marjorie Lane Kelly, the town’s finance director.

Kelly said the town is also about $1 million under its levy limit, which means if it had to, it could tax taxpayers up to $1 million more a year.

“This is good for the town and our bond rating, which is our version of a credit rating,” said Kelly.

Kelly said it isn’t clear what kind of interest rates the town may have to pay as it borrows in the future, because the market fluctuates so much, but they should be lower than they would be without the higher bond rating.

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