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Weston's AAA Bond Rating Garners Negative Outlook

WESTON, Conn. — Based on being in the Bridgeport area, Weston's bond rating was placed on a negative outlook by Moody's .

"We seem to potentially have a correlation with what is happening at the federal level," First Selectwoman Gayle Weinstein said at a Board of Finance meeting Thursday. She said the negative outlook won't affect Weston because the town doesn't plan to do bonding soon. "It's something we've always prided ourself on — our AAA rating — and I don't want that blemished."

Weinstein said Moody's told her of specifics that relate to the negative outlook: macroeconomic sensitivity, market risk, exposure to federal spending, reductions and financial reserves. She said Moody's found a strong correlation in the unemployment change and how that change is similar to what is happening at the federal level. That raised Moody's concerns — and Bridgeport has an unemployment rate of nearly 16 percent.

Standard & Poor's said the opposite of Moody's, Weinstein said. "Our ratings are not constrained by the sovereign level."

"For me, it's more the perception. People think there's something wrong with the town's finances," said Weinstein. She said Moody's set the negative outlook before rating Weston — which it plans to do within 90 days. A total of 66 municipalities nationwide were placed on a negative outlook, 13 of which are located in Fairfield and New Haven counties, Weinstein said.

Do you think Weston's bond rating should be under a negative outlook? Leave your comments in the box below.

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