Riverhead Town maintains high bond rating from S&P

02/24/2014 7:21 PM |
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Undeveloped surrounds the already-developed industrial core at the 2,900-acre EPCAL property.

Riverhead Town will likely bond infrastructure costs at  EPCAL, which could be more than $20 million. (File photo by Barbaraellen Koch)

Riverhead Town has maintained its AA- rating from Standard and Poor’s for the ninth consecutive year, according to a press release issued Monday by Supervisor Sean Walter.

S&P assigns credit ratings for the debt of municipalities, as well as public and private companies. Mr. Walter said he believes the latest rating could mean lower interest rates for future town borrowing.

“With many levels of government receiving credit downgrades across the nation and the downgrading of the credit rating of even the United States itself, I am once again happy to say that Riverhead maintains one of the best credit ratings any government can have,” he said in a press release.

The AA- rating is one of S&P’s highest ratings. AAA is the highest, followed by AA+ and AA.

Mr. Walter said S&P recognized that the town has “effectively managed its budget during extremely difficult financial times,” and has “expressed confidence in the town’s ability to meet its financial obligations.”

The town has maintained the AA- rating since July 2005, when it was upgraded from A+, he added.

Town finance administrator Bill Rothaar said in a press release he believes S&P was influenced “by the fact that the Town of Riverhead has made significant strides in the re-development of the downtown Riverhead, the expansion of development along the Route 58 commercial corridor, as well as the reuse and revitalization effects at the Enterprise Park at Calverton (EPCAL).”

Access to lower interest rates on town bonding is key, Mr. Walter said, if the Town Board ultimately decided to take out a “bridge loan” to offset tax increases or to pay for infrastructure costs at EPCAL while the town waits for that land to begin generating revenue.

tgannon@timesreview.com