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Bedford’s Triple A Rating Affirmed; Financial Forecast Looks Solid

2013 January 30
by The Bedford Citizen

By Kim Siebert MacPhail

Town Manager Rick Reed told the Selectmen on Monday night that Standard and Poor’s had re-affirmed the Town’s Triple A bond rating, the highest rating communities can be awarded by bonding agencies, allowing Bedford to borrow funds for large projects at the most favorable rates.

“This was part of the re-funding of bonds that we asked the Selectmen to approved, tentatively,” Reed reported. “About a week and a half ago, we went through a rating call with Standard and Poor’s, and they were very pleased to hear of the Town’s efforts on a number of fronts, particularly in the areas of OPEB [Other Post-Employment Benefits] and establishing the trust that we voted on last year at annual Town Meeting; also, changes to our health insurance program that relate to the good news on [reductions to] our OPEB [liabilities]. All in all, they were very pleased with the Town.”

To read about the re-bonding initiative presented to the Selectmen in December, visit: http://www.thebedfordcitizen.org/2012/12/18/three-bonds-to-be-refinanced-generate-big-savings/

Additionally, Reed said that the Free Cash amount that is available for appropriations at the upcoming Town Meeting—although the Town never uses all of it—is $3.3M.

“The [financial] model [we’ve been working with until now] shows a utilization of $1.25M. I think that when the Finance Committee used the figure in their budget guidelines, . . .they assumed we would leave $750,000 of unused Free Cash for emergencies and future use,” Reed explained.

This latest accounting means that the Town has an additional $1.3M available that can be used for  capital projects or purchases, contingencies, deposits in the Stabilization Fund or additional contributions to the OPEB account.

Reed said, “Over the next couple of weeks, as the final budget decisions and the final choices on Town Meeting proposals are made, we’ll be looking at how that funding will be used, if at all.”

To learn about the Town’s fiscal policies, including OPEB, Free Cash and the Stabilization Fund, visit: http://www.thebedfordcitizen.org/2012/11/19/finance-committee-approves-updated-town-fiscal-policies/

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