Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said it raised its long-term rating and underlying ratings on Winthrop, Maine's general obligation (GO) bonds to AA-minus from A-plus.
The outlook is stable.
"We base the upgrade on our recently released local GO criteria," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Apple Lo.
The rating reflects the following factors of the town, specifically its: adequate local economy, with per capita market value at about $110,400 and projected per capita effective buying income at 92.6% of national levels; adequate budgetary flexibility, with available reserves at 6.7% of operating expenditures in fiscal 2012; adequate overall budgetary performance; very strong liquidity and strong access to external liquidity; adequate management conditions; and. very strong debt and contingent liabilities.
The stable outlook reflects the view that the town will likely continue to maintain available reserves at adequate levels despite any budgetary pressures over the two-year outlook period. Access to employment opportunities in Augusta and lack of additional new money debt issuance further support the current rating level.
However, if the fund balance reduces to a level considered low due to budgetary pressures, the rating might be pressurized downward.
Although it is unlikely within the two-year outlook horizon, if the town improves its reserves to a strong level through strong budgetary performances, the rating may see an upward movement.