Thursday, January 24, 2013
Moody’s Rates Westport’s New Bond Issue Triple-A
Moody’s Investors Service said today it had assigned a triple-A (Aaa) rating and stable outlook to the Town of Westport’s planned $6.99 million general obligations bond issue and affirmed the top rating to its $130 million in long-term general obligations debt.
It said the bonds, with an expected sale date of Feb. 7, are secured by the town’s unlimited general obligation tax pledge and will finance various school, water, and sewer improvements.
The agency said the highest quality long-term rating reflects “Westport’s sizable tax base with extremely high wealth and income indices, and a manageable debt position.”
The rating also “incorporates the town’s well-managed financial operations marked by adequate reserve levels, a well-funded pension system, and proactive funding of the town’s post-retirement benefits liability,” Moody’s said.
“The outlook remains stable, indicating Moody’s expectation that the town’s financial position will remain healthy in the near term.”
The rating agency said Westport’s strengths include “conservative financial management practices which have resulted in a history of satisfactory reserve levels; satisfactory plans to address long-term liabilities for pension and OPEB (Other Post Employment Benefits) and [an] underlying economy [that] is stable benefiting from well above average wealth levels.”
Moody’s said challenges include maintenance of satisfactory reserve levels “amidst rising spending pressures.”
It added: “The outlook is stable reflecting our expectation that Westport’s credit profile will continue to exhibit characteristics consistent with our Aaa rating category.”
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Note: WestportNow Publisher Gordon F. Joseloff is also First Selectman of Westport