STONINGTON — The town has become the first town in Eastern Connecticut to be awarded an AAA rating from Standard & Poor’s, according to Matthew A. Spoerndle, senior managing director of Phoenix Advisors LLC.

Spoerndle and Phoenix Advisors, which has a Connecticut office in Milford, has managed Stonington’s bond sales in recent years to include the largest bond sales in town history to support school construction.

The town had been rated AA1; the AA rating means the issuer’s capacity to meet its financial commitments to be very strong.

Jim Sullivan, director of finance, said that S&P cited several factors supporting the upgrade to AAA, including a positive fiscal outlook for the town, strong budgetary performance and strong fiscal management.

Under the rating agency’s system, an AAA-rated issuer, or “obligor,” is judged to have an “extremely strong” capacity to meet its commitment.

Over the past two years the town renovated two elementary schools under budget and on time, and increased its grand list of taxable property with more than $200 million in new construction and 400 new jobs.

June Strunk, who chairs the town Board of Finance, said the board had worked hard to be fiscally prudent and keep the tax rate low.

Spoerndle said, “The stable outlook reflects S&P’s expectation that Stonington will likely maintain strong economic indicators, very strong liquidity and flexibility despite a slowing economy and fiscal headwinds at the state level.”

Stonington First Selectman Rob Simmons said, “It is amazing what we can accomplish when we put partisan and parochial interests aside for the good of the town, and when we work together with a common goal of putting Stonington first.”

— Sun staff

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