NEW YORK - Moody's Investors Service said it has upgraded the town of Stoughton, Mass.'s general obligation rating to Aa3 from an A1 and assigned a MIG 1 rating to the town's $4.99 million general obligation bonds anticipation notes.

The upgrade to Aa3 affects $31 million in the town's long-term general obligation debt, $6.6 million of which is included under the Massachusetts State Qualified Bond Program and also carry the programmatic enhanced Aa2 rating with a stable outlook.

The notes, payable September 21, 2012, will fund various municipal capital projects including vehicle and equipment replacement, water and sewer improvements and land acquisition.

The Aa3 rating reflects the town's sizeable tax base with above average wealth levels (compared to US), manageable debt burden and satisfactory reserves. The upgrade reflects the town's return to structural balance after three years of operating surpluses and an anticipated surplus in FY12.

The town regained structural balance through expenditure reductions, increasing local revenues by adopting the state's local option taxes for meals and hotel and conservatively budgeting revenues and expenditures.

The MIG 1 reflects the town's underlying credit strength and satisfactory market access. The town received 6 bids on its most recent BAN sale dated, May 6, 2010.

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