Town Manager John Musante announced that Standard & Poor's Ratings Services (S&P) reaffirmed its long-term rating on Amherst’s general obligation bonds at AA+. The AA+ rating is the second highest rating S&P assigns.
“The bond rating upgrade recognizes the leadership shown by the Select Board, Finance Committee, and Town Meeting to build Amherst’s financial stability through prudent budgeting, controlled spending, and sustainable reserve policies,” Musante said.
Standard & Poor’s analyzed the Town’s finances on five major criteria and based its rating on its assessment of the following factors for the town:
• A strong economy, with access to the broad and diverse Springfield metropolitan statistical area (MSA), and anchored by the University of Massachusetts-Amherst;
• Strong budgetary flexibility, with available reserves above 10% of general fund expenditures for the most recent three audited years;
• Strong budgetary performance on a total governmental funds and general fund basis;
• Very strong liquidity, providing very strong cash levels to cover both debt service and expenditures;
• Very strong management conditions led by good financial policies; and
• A very strong debt and contingent liability position characterized by low debt service as a percent of total governmental funds expenditures.
“I am very proud of our team of financial professionals – Finance Director Sandy Pooler, Treasurer/Collector Claire McGinnis, Comptroller Sonia Aldrich, Assessor David Burgess, their staffs, and all the department heads – who work together to monitor our budgets, create exemplary financial policies, and protect the Town’s financial integrity,” Musante concluded.
Finance Director Pooler noted that the Town plans to sell $1.95 million in bonds on Tuesday, February 3, 2015.