During December, Suffield was able to go to the bond market to borrow $9.1m for the road repair and construction project approved by voters in a referendum in the fall of 2015. During 2016 more than one-third of the 3-year roads project was completed.
A press release from First Selectman Melissa Mack’s office noted that prior to the issuance of bonds, the town received a favorable financial review from S&P Global Ratings, one of the three major Wall Street Rating Agency firms. Matthew Spoerndle, Senior Managing Director of Phoenix Advisors and Suffield’s Financial Advisor notes, “S&P recognized the continued efforts of leadership to improve Suffield’s fiscal health, and as a result, the Town was able to issue debt at very low levels. The positive outcome was driven by the strong credit rating and prudent financial management of the Town.”
Suffield received a total of eight bids on the bonds, with Janney Montgomery Scott LLC submitting the winning bid of 2.73% for the twenty year bond. After consultation with the Board of Finance last Fall, town officials worked to get the bonds issued in mid-December, before an expected increase in interest rates.
While S&P’s rating for Suffield held steady at AA+, the Town’s outlook improved from stable to positive for better positioning and a potential upgrade to the coveted AAA rating on the next bond issuance. S&P referenced Suffield’s “strong management,” expectation of the “tax base to remain very diverse,” and proximity to Springfield, Hartford and Bradley International Airport as factors influencing the high credit rating.
First Selectman Mack said, “It’s really encouraging to see the town’s rating move to a positive outlook because it shows the good governance efforts by the town.”
Voters have given the town authorization to bond for the Bridge Street Community Center and Town Hall renovation projects but the final details of those construction plans are being ironed out and general contractors have not yet been hired.