News Column

North Haven's bond rating upped to AAA by Standard & Poor's

May 22, 2014

By Ebony Walmsley, New Haven Register, Conn.



May 22--NORTH HAVEN -- The town will have more than $1 million in savings after receiving a higher bond rating for the next few years, according to First Selectman Michael Freda.

Freda announced Wednesday that Standard & Poor's has upped the town's bond rating to AAA. The rating is the best a town can receive; last year, the financial rating company rated North Haven AA.

"This is like the brightest gold star you could receive," Freda said.

Freda said the achievement is something every municipality strives for.

The ratings give the town the benefit of lower interest rates when selling its bonds for projects like the proposed "like-new" North Haven Middle School and renovations to the town's four firehouses.

"For projects like our middle school, this is very significant," Freda said.

A few years ago, the public approved the renovations and addition of the firehouses, costing about $9 million.

The AAA rating allows the town to go back and bond at a lower rate for the firehouse project.

If the proposed renovations to the middle school pass next month's referendum, the town will bond a half-point lower for interest rates for costs for the project. For example, if an expense totals $100,000, another municipality could pay 5 percent interest but the town will pay 4.5 percent.

Edward Swinkoski, director of finance and administration, said the firehouse and middle school project could see about $1.5 million in savings with the high rating.

Freda and Swinkoski said officials gave representatives from Standard & Poor's a tour of the town and its economic development, such as a new manufacturing company and various retailers. Town officials also engaged in a detailed interview process.

Mark Chapman, financial adviser for the town, said an in-person tour was a smart move on the town's behalf.

"I think the tour was beneficial. It's one thing to hear about all the good things, it's another thing to see it," Chapman said.

Freda said the achievement was a team effort.

"Ed (Swinkoski) and I work closely as a team. We have an outstanding Board of Finance that helps us get this done," Freda said.

Call Ebony Walmsley at 203-789-5734. Have questions, feedback or ideas about our news coverage? Connect directly with the editors of the New Haven Register at AskTheRegister.com.

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(c)2014 the New Haven Register (New Haven, Conn.)

Visit the New Haven Register (New Haven, Conn.) at www.nhregister.com

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Source: New Haven Register (CT)


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