Fitch upgrades city’s bond rating to AAA

The nation’s premier rating agency, Fitch, upgraded Milford’s bond rating to ‘AAA,’ the highest possible credit grade a city can receive, Mayor Ben Blake said in a press release issued Friday. This is higher than the 2015 rating, in which Fitch rated Milford’s general obligation bonds AA+.

“As a result of smart financial decisions and responsible management, Milford joins an elite group of municipalities, which includes Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan in receiving the top-credit rating,” Blake said. “This credit score demonstrates the city’s fiscal health and reveals how markets view Milford’s creditworthiness. More importantly, this notable evaluation exposes the city’s strong and growing economy.”

City officials say Fitch’s rating recognizes strategic decisions and purposeful planning.

“We’ve seen a 26% increase in companies moving to Milford over the past two years,” Blake said. “This explosion of new business growth has expanded our grand list and helped us deliver this year’s historic tax cut which reduced taxes for all city residents and businesses.”   

“This top credit rating is a testament to our conservative approach to budgets,” said Finance Director Peter Erodici. “I am very pleased with the progress the city has made to reach this superior level of fiscal responsibility.”   

In assigning its highest level of credit quality, Fitch cited Milford’s strong management under Blake’s leadership and the city’s “sound financial cushion on the basis of its superior level of budgetary flexibility and history of careful financial management.”

The agency noted Milford’s “continued solid economic and revenue growth prospects, a low long-term liability burden and strong operating performance.”

According to Fitch, the AAA rating was based on superior financial management, healthy reserves, low debt levels, well-funded retiree costs, and a history of successful access to the municipal bond market. Fitch also commended the city for its careful management of other post employment benefit liabilities.

"The AAA rating reflects Milford’s strong government, rocketing economy and remarkable community," said Blake. “We will continue to exercise careful planning and prudent financial management to allow our city to thrive.”