Town’s credit rating pays off

Aug 10, 2018 by

Published in the August 10, 2018 edition.

By MARK SARDELLA

WAKEFIELD — The Town Council this week approved the borrowing of $9,870,000 via the sale of general obligation municipal purpose bonds to Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc., at the price of $10,142.069.43 and accrued interest (if any).

The borrowing is for a number of purposes already approved by Town Meeting, including the Walton School upgrade ($6 million), a final accounting of the Galvin Middle School project in the amount of $1.8 million, a fire truck ($650,000) and a ladder truck for the Fire Department ($750,000). 

Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio said that the $1.8 million for the Galvin was what was left on the bond anticipation note after the final audit by the state. He explained that the town normally issues bond anticipation notes rather than bonding the entire amount up front because the exact figure isn’t known at that point.

Maio added that, due to the town’s excellent AAA credit rating, a very good interest rate of 3.3 percent is associated with the borrowing. He further noted that, while the town needs $10,142,069.43, it is only borrowing $9,870,000 because the town received a premium due to its credit worthiness.

He pointed out that if the town’s credit rating had dropped just one notch from AAA to AA, it would have cost the town an additional $311,000.

Maio said that a number of factors are taken into account when credit rating agencies like Standard & Poor evaluate the town’s creditworthiness. Those factors include how the town handles its budgeting, its reserves, its OPEB and pension liability and its capital outlay.

Maio thanked the Town Council, Town Treasurer John McCarthy, Town Accountant Kevin Gill, Assessor Victor Santaniello, Tax Collector Kathleen Kelly and Town Counsel Thomas Mullen for their roles in securing an excellent credit rating for the town.

The bonds are payable in specified installment amounts due on Aug. 15 of each year through 2030. 

In a separate transaction, the Town Council approved the borrowing of $1,548,750 in the form of an interest-free loan from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority for the improvement of water mains and water service in town. The bond is payable each year on Aug. 15 through 2028 in the amount of $154,875. 

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In other business this week, the Town Council: 

• Approved the September 4, 2018 State Election Warrant.

• Accepted a donation from Tonno Wakefield restaurant in the amount of $11,650 for a fund to be used to assist local disaster victims.

• Approved a collective bargaining agreement with town clerical workers that will run through June 30, 2021.

• Voted to authorize the town to solicit bids on a parcel of tax title property at Lassalle and Humphrey streets.

• Approved the renewal Bowling Alley License for Wakefield Bowladrome to run through April 30, 2019.

• Voted to authorize Maio to advertise seeking individuals interested in serving on the Design Review Board. The board reviews and makes recommendations concerning all sign applications as set forth in the Zoning Bylaw. Individuals interested in serving on this committee are asked to email their resume and letter of interest to Sherri Dalton at sdalton@wakefield.ma.us by Monday, August 27, 2018.

• Appointed Assistant Director of Public Works Joseph Conway as the town’s representative to the MWRA Advisory Board. DPW Director Richard Stinson was appointed as the alternate representative.

• Voted to table a request for renewal of a Pool Table License for the Lakeside Inn.

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