WALLINGFORD — Moody's Investors Service downgraded the town’s rating from its highest ranking, according to a report issued earlier this month.
The town had held a Aaa rating for several years, but Moody’s assigned the town an Aa1 rating to the town’s $16.7 million general obligation bond issue of 2019.
Moody’s also revised its outlook from negative to stable on the town’s approximately $24 million in outstanding general obligations.
Wallingford, along with 28 other municipal governments and regional school districts, was assigned a negative outlook rating and placed under review for downgrade in October 2017.
One of the big reasons for the recent downgrade, according to Moody’s, was the town’s two operating deficits in a row, which means the town was dipping into reserves instead of building them up.
“Certainly we’re disappointed,” said Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. on Thursday.
The loss of the town’s biggest taxpayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, was a concern for Moody’s, Dickinson said.
Other factors include the reduction in state revenue to towns, along with the new state requirement for towns to pick up the payment of the teacher pensions.
“It’s disappointing but I can understand,” Dickinson said. “We’re not a rich community. The per capita income is a little less than the state average. The view would be there’s not the wealth in the community to easily recover financial losses.”
According to the latest United States Census data, Wallingford’s per capita income in is $33,839. The state per capita income is $36,775.
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