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News Briefs: Hopkinton receives AAA credit rating

by | Nov 13, 2019 | News

Hopkinton receives AAA credit rating

The Town of Hopkinton announced earlier this month that Standard and Poor’s assigned its highest credit rating, AAA, to its general obligation bonds to be used for various municipal purposes.

The Triple-A bond rating, as designated by credit rating agencies like Standard & Poor’s, represents the highest level of creditworthiness a municipality can achieve and allows the town to borrow money at the lowest commercial interest rates possible.

“This rating delivers more value to the taxpayers of Hopkinton,” Chief Financial Officer Tim O’Leary said in a press release.

“This is a great achievement for the town,” added Town Manager Norman Khumalo. “The AAA rating is the culmination of fiscal discipline that was started long ago and continues today. Our professional staff as well as our town boards and committees have dedicated countless hours to reach and maintain this goal.”

S&P cited the following factors in conferring the AAA rating:

— Very strong economy with a large and growing tax base;

— Very strong management, with strong financial policies and practices;

— Strong budgetary performance that is expected to remain strong due to management’s record of accomplishment in prudently estimating revenues and expenditures;

— Strong budgetary flexibility;

— Very strong liquidity.

 

Town approves tax relief for seniors

At the Nov. 5 Select Board meeting, the five-person board unanimously voted to approve limited tax relief for a small group of qualifying senior citizens. The relief takes the form of a partial exemption of property taxes for 2020 of up to $2,200. Exemptions totaling $66,600 were granted under the program.

“This is a good message to get out there, that Hopkinton supports its seniors,” Select Board chair Brendan Tedstone said.

This action by the Select Board launches the first year of a program authorized by a law passed in the Massachusetts Legislature and enacted by Governor Charlie Baker in 2018, specifically for the Town of Hopkinton. Implementation of the law was approved by Hopkinton Town Meeting in 2019, and the Hopkinton Board of Assessors managed the process, collecting and evaluating 37 applications and and determining that 33 individuals met the qualifying criteria.

To qualify, seniors must be longtime homeowners in Hopkinton, and must meet limits on both income and assets linked to the state Circuit Breaker tax credit.

 

Town adds employees

The Select Board unanimously approved three town manager appointments at its Nov. 5 meeting. Stephanie Pemberton was named administrative assistant, Department of Land Use, Planning and Permitting. Jessica Lewerenz will work on administrative benefits support in the Human Resources Department. Kasey Mauro joins the Health Department as public health nurse. …

Also at the Nov. 5 meeting, the Select Board approved grants of location for two wireless small cell facilities on two replacement utility poles. One will be located at the intersection of Grove Street and Maple Street, and the other will be placed on Park Street. The board placed a condition that the facilities cannot be placed on the new poles until the old poles have been removed. …

At the Oct. 28 Planning Board meeting, the board voted to approve Eversource’s Hopkinton-Ashland Transfer Line Replacement project. The project is designed to upgrade the existing gas pipeline, of which 1.2 miles is in Hopkinton and 2.5 miles is in Ashland.

 

PJB offers Thanksgiving assistance

The Project Just Because Hopkinton food pantry is available to help Hopkinton residents. Any resident in need of assistance with their Thanksgiving meal can sign up for this program on the PJB website (projectjustbecause.org) or call the office at 508-435-6511.

The pickup date for Thanksgiving items will be Monday, Nov. 25, from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at 109 South St.

Anyone able to help provide items for Hopkinton families is encouraged to donate a gift card for a turkey from a local grocery store or any dry goods. Items can be dropped off at 109 South St. from Monday through Thursday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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