Standard & Poor’s upgraded Canton’s general obligation rating to AAA with a stable outlook from AA-plus.

The rating agency cited voter approval of a $4.5 million tax levy override as the primary reason for the upgrade. In Massachusetts, any property tax increase greater than 2.5% requires voter approval.

About a third of the increased tax levy will be used for the town’s 2009 budget and the balance will be spread out through 2012.

“What this does is give them the revenue flexibility they need to sustain budget growth over that time,” said Standard & Poor’s analyst Victor Medeiros.

The town also benefits from its location — about 15 miles south of Boston — as well as its “extremely high wealth level,” strong reserves, good financial management practices, and low debt profile, Standard & Poor’s said in a press release.

The town has a population of about 21,729.

Moody’s Investors Service assigns its Aa2 rating. Fitch Ratings does not rate the credit.

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