Recently, the rating agency Standard & Poor's reviewed Ashland's credit characteristics, and I am pleased to say that we have once again been assigned a "𝗔𝗔𝗔" 𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗼𝘂𝘁𝗹𝗼𝗼𝗸; the top rating a municipality can achieve. While it serves as a great report card for our financial management, it also has very practical applications for Ashland taxpayers. Just like people who have higher credit ratings receive better interest rates when they look to borrow money, cities and towns receive better interest rates the higher their credit rating is. With two large building projects on the horizon, the difference between an elite AAA rating and a lower rating can mean saving 𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 of dollars (literally) for Ashland taxpayers.
In analyzing Ashland's credit characteristics, Standard and Poor's assigned their highest scores possible ("𝘝𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘚𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘨") to the following areas: 𝗠𝗮𝗻𝗮𝗴𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁, 𝗕𝘂𝗱𝗴𝗲𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝗙𝗹𝗲𝘅𝗶𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆, 𝗟𝗶𝗾𝘂𝗶𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘆, 𝗘𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗼𝗺𝘆. They assigned their second-highest scores ("𝘚𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘨") to the following: 𝗗𝗲𝗯𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗟𝗶𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗳𝗶𝗹𝗲, 𝗜𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗶𝘁𝘂𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗙𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸. They assigned their "Adequate" score to Budgetary Performance. Specifically, S&P highlighted the way Ashland has managed its finances during the pandemic noting that we have actually deposited more money into the stabilization fund than we withdrew.
I want to really congratulate our financial team, specifically Finance Director Brittany Iacaponi, Treasurer/Collector Cindy Cincotta, Assistant Town Manager Jenn Ball, and School Director of Finance and Operations Chris Mathieu for their continued excellent work managing our complex finances. And as always I want to thank The Select Board, School Committee, Finance Committee, and Superintendent Adams for their continued collaboration and dedication to our financial strategy.