Bolton, MA Series 2019 General Obligation Funding Bonds Assigned 'AAA' Rating

NEW YORK (S&P Global Ratings) Jan. 11, 2019--S&P Global Ratings assigned its 
'AAA' rating and stable outlook to Bolton, Mass.' series 2019 general 
obligation funding bonds.  

Officials will use series 2019 bond proceeds, totaling approximately $3.7 
million, to refund several maturities of the town's series 2009, 2008, 2007, 
and 2006 GO bonds. 

The town's full-faith-and-credit pledge secures the 2019 GO debt issuance. The 
different series of bonds to be refunded were voted on and excluded from the 
limitation of Proposition 2 1/2.  

The rating reflects our view of the town's:
  • Very strong economy, with access to a broad and diverse metropolitan statistical area (MSA);
  • Strong management, with good financial policies and practices under our Financial Management Assessment methodology;
  • Strong budgetary performance, with a slight operating surplus in the general fund but a slight operating deficit at the total governmental fund level in fiscal 2018;
  • Strong budgetary flexibility, with an available fund balance in fiscal 2018 of 14.3% of operating expenditures;
  • Very strong liquidity, with total government available cash at 21.6% of total governmental fund expenditures and 2.8x governmental debt service, and access to external liquidity we consider strong;
  • Very strong debt and contingent liability profile, with debt service carrying charges at 7.7% of expenditures and net direct debt that is 34.8% of total governmental fund revenue, as well as low overall net debt at less than 3% of market value and rapid amortization, with 81.3% of debt scheduled to be retired in 10 years; and
  • Strong institutional framework score.
"The stable outlook reflects our opinion that Bolton will likely maintain 
strong reserves, supported by strong management practices," said S&P Global 
Ratings credit analyst Lauren Freire. 

We believe Bolton's participation in the broad and diverse Boston MSA lends 
additional rating stability. Therefore, we do not expect to change the rating 
within the outlook's two-year period. If management were to draw down reserves 
to maintain balanced operations due to fixed costs pressure, we could lower 
the rating.