On March 21st, Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings raised the City of Easthampton’s long-term bond rating from AA to AA+. The higher rating applies to all the long term bonds the City has outstanding, as well as the bonds it is about to issue. The new rating represents the City’s highest bond rating in the last twenty years. Mayor Nicole LaChapelle said “this is wonderful news for our current and future financial strength as a city. We have earned this AA+ rating by improving our budget processes and fiscal and management policies."
I want to especially recognize the hard work of our City Finance Director Melissa Zawadzki and City Auditor Valerie Bernier. We could not have done this without them. There are a lot of good things happening in the City and this rating signals good things will continue to happen” stated Mayor Nicole LaChapelle. The Standard & Poor’s rating report cited new, stronger financial management policies and practices that have led to solid financial performance and increasing reserve levels.
The report highlighted good budgetary flexibility and very strong cash levels that able to meet both debt service requirements and general fund expenditures. Standard & Poor’s also recognized the robust local economy and the economic benefit of being within the Springfield metropolitan statistical area. Two analysts from Standard & Poor’s visited the City in December 2018. The Mayor and Finance Director lead the analysts on an extensive walking tour of downtown and the mill district to highlight the economic and cultural growth in the city.
The City is currently planning a sale of $50,000,000 bonds on April 1 to fund most of the City’s share of constructing the new Maple Elementary School. “This higher rating will help lower the interest rate on those bonds and encourage more bids for the bonds,” said Melissa Zawadzki, City Finance Director.
An original member of the Maple Elementary School building committee, State Representative Dan Carey said, “I am very happy to hear about the upgraded bond rating. The timing couldn’t be better as the new school project progresses.”