A 'Triple-A' Victory Lap!
Left to Right back row: Ane Fahey, Lisa Cook, Pam Vickery, Kerri Bertone, Chris Sandini, Kevin Doyle, Peter Mooney, Carol Hladick. Two indivuals in front: Susan Reagan, Marina Malamud
For the first time in the town’s history, Franklin was awarded a AAA (Triple-A) bond rating by Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings. Progressing from the Town’s previous AA+,the new rating is indicative of exceptionally high creditworthiness in the eyes of municipal bond issuers.
How unusual is this? According to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue web site, only 14 municipalities of the state’s 351 managed the feat. The other AAAs are Belmont, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Concord, Dover, Hingham, Lexington, Nantucket, Newton, Wayland, Wellesley, Weston, and Winchester.
“Achieving a AAA Bond Rating is the ultimate team accomplishment in local government” said Town Administrator, Jamie Hellen. “The rating reflects the unity and collaboration of everyone involved, past and present, including the Town Council, Finance Committee, boards and committees, department heads, staff, and the residents of the community. It’s like winning the Super Bowl. Everyone had to do their job to get this victory.”
Despite economic and social uncertainty posed by the pandemic, Franklin’s stable financial portfolio, performance and management has positioned the town’s reserves to its highest levels
ever. The behavior and actions of the Town have resulted in the community being in the strongest position to continue to perform should fiscal stressors arise.
A ratings report published by S&P Global Ratings outlines the following as the primary contributing factors in achieving Franklin’s AAA rating:
● Four consecutive operating surpluses, increasing reserves to its strongest levels ever with management projecting ongoing maintenance at these levels, as Franklin continues to work through their capital improvement plan.
● Prudent budgetary modifications amid the pandemic supported by great financial policies to position the town well as fiscal year 2023 approaches.
● Franklin’s employment and tax base saw little deterioration amid the pandemic which indicated a resilient and affluent local economy.
● Ongoing economic development projects and a strong real estate environment resulting in substantial tax base growth which keeps tax rates low and affordable.
● Maintenance of a favorable debt profile.
● Manageable pension and other postemployment benefits (OPEB) costs. “The Town Council, Finance Committee and all of our town staff have established strong financial policies and have remained committed to them,” said Hellen. “The support from the Town’s elected officials is without question a signature factor in the bond rating for their continued support of the staff’s professional expertise. But, the foundation for this achievement is having a great finance team that helps to see beyond the data, providing intelligent information for strategic short and long-term decision-making. I can’t say enough about the work of Finance Director Sandini, Treasurer-Collector Bertone and all of the employees who work in the finance offices. We’ve been zoned in on this goal for years and I am very happy for the entire team to achieve it.”
“The pandemic has only made the Town of Franklin more resilient and productive than ever before,” Hellen said. “With a AAA bond rating, ISO-1 Fire Department, a soon to be fully accredited Police Department and reducing liabilities, such as OPEB and Stormwater, with modest, common sense, slow-but-steady policies, the Town is as prepared as we have been to meet future challenges.”
You can learn more about the Town’s AAA Bond rating here.