Hadley bond rating rises

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services raised the town’s bond rating by one notch, from ‘AA’ to ‘AA+’ which bodes well for the town’s borrowing costs, according to a March report.

“It means that for any future borrowing, it’s going to be much more favorable terms for the taxpayer,” said Town Administrator David G. Nixon. He added that the new rating also makes Hadley a more attractive place for businesses.

In its report, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services stated it considers Hadley’s economy and budgetary flexibility “very strong.” The firm stated that its budgetary performance has been strong overall, a trend that should continue “due to the town’s conservative nature in budgeting, as well as its rather predictable revenue and expenditure profile.”

In addition, the assessment determined that Hadley’s liquidity, management conditions, and debt and liability profile, also were in good shape.

The new rating is not expected to change for the next two years and it is the first bond rating change for the town since fiscal year 2010 when it bumped up to ‘AA’ from ‘A+’.

The positive financial news comes about six months after a team from the state Department of Revenue recommended local officials undertake more long-range planning and budgeting strategy to improve Hadley’s financial practices as the town’s revenues struggle to keep pace with costs. In a 24-page financial management review, requested by the Select Board, the state agency made 33 recommendations for town officials to consider as they evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations.

Nixon said he believes the town’s approach to acting on the state’s latest review and others in the past, rather than sit on problems, played a role in the bond rating change. “I think that’s the reason why we got the favorable bond rating,” he added.

Dan Crowley can be reached at dcrowley@gazettenet.com.

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