Standard & Poor's raised its general obligation rating for Springfield, Mass., two notches to AA-minus from A Jan. 28, and assigned a stable outlook.

S&P, which cited its application of local GO criteria released on Sept. 12, also assigned its SP-1-plus short-term rating to the city's Series 2014 GO bond anticipation notes, scheduled for mid-February.

The Western Massachusetts city, with a population of 154,000, intends to sell $14 million of BANs to renew notes originally used to fund emergency appropriations for costs related to damage from a June 2011 tornado.

Standard & Poor's also affirmed its AA long-term rating on Springfield's commonwealth-qualified GO qualified school construction bonds and affirmed its AA underlying rating on the city's previously issued commonwealth-qualified debt. The outlook on all long-term ratings is stable.

S&P cited Springfield's broad and diverse economy, though weak and with lower wealth and incomes; budgetary flexibility, with available reserves above 8% of general fund expenditures; and adequate budgetary performance due to costs related to rising pension and other postemployment benefits, as well as subsidy from a general fund to a trash enterprise fund.

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