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June 18. 2013 9:11PM

Bedford maintains highest credit rating from Moody’s

BEDFORD — Moody’s Investors Service recently reaffirmed the town’s Aaa rating bond because of its low debt burden, healthy reserves and conservative budgeting. Moody’s also listed the town’s strengths as its diverse tax base, strong demographic profile and easy commute to Boston, Manchester and Nashua.

“The town of Bedford is the only New Hampshire municipality to achieve Moody’s highest credit rating, which provides the town with a significant advantage in the municipal bond marketplace,” said Jessie Levine, Bedford town manager.

Because of its rating, the town was able to secure bond financing at a 1.43 percent interest rate, saving the town and taxpayers money.

“The town is independently rated and is able to seek bids on the open market so we don’t have to go through the New Hampshire Municipal Bond Bank,” said Levine.

The town received nine bids and the winning bid went to Piper Jaffray, an investment bank and asset management firm serving U.S. and international clients.

On June 13, the town closed on a $7,785,000 bond, the second portion of the $13.2 million infrastructure bond approved by Bedford voters in 2011 and the refinancing of the 1999 landfill closure bond that was originally borrowed at 4.48 percent. Refinancing the landfill bond yields Bedford taxpayers about $48,000 in present value savings, Levine said.

In addition to the 1.43 percent rate, the town received a bond premium of more than $200,000 — basically cash back at closing — which will fully cover the costs associated with issuing the bond and provide additional capital for the town’s infrastructure projects, she said.

In 1999, the town issued 20-year bonds to close the Chubbuck Road Landfill. The $2 million bond was at a rate of 4.48 percent — 3.48 percent interest and 1 percent administrative fee to the state. The outstanding principal as of May 3 was $600,000.

Until recently, the town did not have the ability to refinance this bond because of its participation in the state revolving loan fund with the Department of Environmental Services.

“The town of Bedford commends its Finance Department for Moody’s recognition of its professional and strategic leadership in the government finance community, and also recognizes its Planning Department and the business community for ensuring continued successful commercial development in the town of Bedford,” said Levine.

Recent developments have added to the town’s tax base, Levine said, including the newly renovated Bedford Mall; the Bedford Medical Center on South River Road; Bedford Hills mixed-use project at the intersection of Routes 101 and 114 that includes the Copper Door and the Bedford Falls assisted-living facility; Optics1; and the new Market Basket on Donald Street.

Levine said the town estimates the recent and approved future projects will add more than $50 million to the town’s taxable valuation during the next few years.

sclark@newstote.com


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