Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said it raised its long-term rating and underlying rating on Preston, Conn.'s general obligation bonds to AA-minus from A-plus.
At the same time, Standard & Poor's said it assigned its AA-minus long-term rating to the town's GO bonds, issue of 2013 and its SP-1-plus short-term rating to the town's GO bond anticipation notes. The outlook on all the ratings is stable.
"The higher ratings reflect conservative budgeting practices that have bolstered reserves to a level we consider very strong," explained Standard & Poor's credit analyst Hilary Sutton.
"In our view, the town maintains a very strong capacity to pay principal and interest when the notes come due and a low market risk profile," added Sutton.
The long-term rating reflects the town's: property tax base that declined by a sizable 16.3% year over year in fiscal 2014 due to a revaluation but retained its strong incomes and extremely strong wealth; maintenance of strong financial position; limited pension and other postemployment benefit liabilities; and low debt burden, coupled with rapid amortization.
The town's full faith and credit pledge secures the bonds and BANs. Bond proceeds will finance various capital improvement projects authorized by an April 23, 2013 referendum vote and note proceeds will finance projects authorized by a Dec. 18, 2012 referendum.
Preston is a semi-rural bedroom community in southeastern Connecticut with a population of roughly 4,700.
"The stable outlook reflects our belief that the town will maintain its strong reserves through a continuation of conservative budgeting practices and an adherence to the adopted general fund reserve policy," said Sutton. Furthermore, the debt burden will remain low to moderate due to the rapid amortization of existing debt and the limited capital needs.