Town’s Top Bond Rating Reaffirmed, Secures Low Interest Rates

aaa credit rating

The town’s bond rating has been reaffirmed as AAA by Standard and Poor’s. It is the highest rating possible.

Each time a bond is issued by the town, its credit rating is reviewed and evaluated by Standard & Poor’s to determine if they will make adjustments, according to Town Manager Michael Lombardo.

The reaffirmed AAA rating came after a recent conference call involving representatives from Standard & Poor’s along with Hamilton Finance Director Marisa Batista, Treasurer/Collector Cheryl Booth, Lombardo and bond counsel from FirstSouthwest.

The conference call was a way for town leaders to highlight the factors that contribute to the town’s high bond rating and reassure the rating agency that the town government continues to deserve AAA status, according to Lombardo.

“I feel the conference call went very well,” Lombardo told the Board of Selectmen in a recent update. “S&P was impressed with the stability of the town budget and management, strong reserves, excess levy capacity of over $2.4 million, and strong market sale prices for single family homes.”

The town sought a new bond rating as its goes out for bonds to fund land acquisition and water system improvements, which have both been previously approved by Town Meeting voters.

The AAA rating means that the town government pays the lowest interest rates possible when borrowing money, Lombardo said. Additionally, the AAA rating also makes the town’s bonds highly desirable in the investment community. For example, for the most recent issuance, the town received 25 bids. And in addition to getting low interest rates, the town sometimes receives direct cash in the form of a bond premium, Lombardo said. In 2015, the town issued $7 million in bonds and received over $200,000 as a bond premium.

In Standard & Poor’s rating, it said that it believes Hamilton can maintain better credit characteristics than the nation in a stress scenario. Hamilton has a very high general fund balance as a percent of expenditures and very strong liquidity, according to Standard & Poor’s.

The rating also took into consideration what Standard & Poor’s said is Hamilton’s very strong economy, strong management, strong budgetary performance, very strong budgetary flexibility with an available fund balance in fiscal year 2016 of 18% of operating expenditures, very strong liquidity and a very strong debt and contingent liability position.

Town Meeting Happens This Saturday

town meetingThe Annual Town Meeting in Hamilton is coming up this weekend.

It starts at 9 a.m. in the auditorium at Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School on Saturday, April 1.

There is also a breakfast, open to all, which starts before the meeting at 8 a.m.

Voters will consider the fiscal year 2018 budget as well as several other matters. The complete warrant for the meeting is available on the town website.

Provide Feedback Now About Community Electricity Aggregation Program

electric-pageThe town of Hamilton is moving forward with the process for municipal aggregation for electricity that was approved at Annual Town Meeting in April.

The goal of the Community Electricity Aggregation Program is to bring the benefits of low cost power, renewable energy and electricity choice to town residents and businesses.

A public review period is now open for residents and other interested people to examine the documents and provide written comment to the town government. The documents are on the town of Hamilton website plus physical copies are available at Hamilton-Wenham Public Library, Hamilton Senior Center and the Town Clerk’s office at Hamilton Town Hall.

Town Meeting Happens Saturday Morning

town meeting bannerThe Annual Town Meeting in Hamilton will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 2 in the gymnasium at Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School.

Breakfast items and coffee will be served before the meeting starts, from 7:30-9 a.m. in the high school’s multipurpose room.

Voters will see 22 articles, including the proposed fiscal year 2017 budget of $28.4 million. You can see the complete Town Meeting warrant here.

Selectmen to Prepare Special Town Meeting Warrant at Monday Night Meeting

A draft of the Special Town Meeting warrant will be discussed and reviewed when the Hamilton Board of Selectmen meet on Monday night.

Hamilton Town Hall  577 Bay Road  Hamilton, Massachusetts
Hamilton Town Hall
577 Bay Road
Hamilton, Massachusetts

The Board of Selectmen meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 5 in the Memorial room at Hamilton Town Hall.

The Special Town Meeting will happen on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 9 a.m. at Winthrop Elementary School.

The board is also slated to discuss Town Meeting policies and procedures with Moderator Jennifer Scuteri and continue its review and discussion about a rewrite of the noise ordinance during Monday night’s meeting.

A complete copy of the agenda for the Monday night meeting can be seen here.