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New Fairfield Receives AAA Rating From Standard & Poor's

New Fairfield First Selectman Susan Chapman Photo Credit: Contribued
New Fairfield has received a AAA rating from the credit rating service Standard and Poor's. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman

NEW FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, the gold standard in credit rating agencies for businesses and government entities, has assigned its 'AAA' long-term rating to New Fairfield, saying the outlook on all the town's ratings is stable.

"We rate the town higher than the nation because we believe New Fairfield can maintain better credit characteristics than the nation in a stress scenario, based on its predominantly locally derived revenue base and our view that pledged revenue supporting debt service on the bonds is at limited risk of negative sovereign intervention," Standard & Poor's said in its report. "In fiscal 2015, local property taxes generated 79 percent of town revenue, which demonstrated a lack of dependence on central government revenue."

In a Facebook post, New Fairfield First Selectman Susan Chapman said the town was able to retain its AAA Bond Rating "due to the hard work of many people."

The rating reflects the service's assessment of the following factors for the town:

  • Very strong economy, with access to a broad and diverse metropolitan statistical area;
  • Strong management, with "good" financial policies and practices;
  • Strong budgetary performance, with break-even operating results in the general fund but a slight operating deficit at the total governmental fund level in fiscal 2015;
  • Strong budgetary flexibility, with an available fund balance in fiscal 2015 at 12.9 percent of operating expenditures;
  • Very strong liquidity, with total government available cash at 9.9 percent of total governmental fund expenditures and 2.1 times the governmental debt service;
  • Very strong debt and contingent liability position, with debt service carrying charges at 4.8 percent of expenditures, net direct debt at 38.8 percent of total governmental fund revenue, and low overall net debt at less than 3 percent of market value and rapid amortization, with 66.2 percent of debt scheduled to be retired in 10 years; and
  • Very strong institutional framework score.

"We consider New Fairfield's economy very strong. The affluent and primarily residential town, with an estimated population of 14,218, is in Fairfield County on the New York State border, north of and adjacent to the city of Danbury," the rating agency added.

In addition, the group found that besides commuting to Danbury for work, residents also commute to job opportunities in Bridgeport, Stamford, and Norwalk. The town serves as a recreational destination as well since roughly 60 percent of Candlewood Lake's shoreline is its town borders.

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