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Standard & Poor's Affirms West Bloomfield Bond Rating

The rating is good news as officials are preparing to issue bonds to help fund pension liabilities.

Standard & Poor's has affirmed West Bloomfield Township's AA+ credit rating. Photo credit: Patch file photo
Standard & Poor's has affirmed West Bloomfield Township's AA+ credit rating. Photo credit: Patch file photo
West Bloomfield Township Treasurer Teri Weingarden announced late Wednesday that Standard & Poor's bond rating service has affirmed the township's AA+ credit rating.

That's good news, as officials are preparing to sell bonds that would cover a portion of the township's pension and benefit liability. Officials have been concerned that controversy surrounding the township treasurer's and clerk's office would affect the rating. 

In addition to a strong economy, cash reserves greater than 30 percent of the general fund and "surplus operations in both the general fund and total governmental funds in fiscal 2012 and expected in 2013", the report cites the township's financial management as a factor in the rating: 

"We view West Bloomfield's management conditions as strong, with good financial practices and policies. Highlights include management's long-term financial and capital planning and routine financial updates to the township board."

On Monday, officials had an extensive conversation about the proposed sale of OPEB (Other Post-Employment Benefits) bonds to save money on pension liabilities. Officials hope to sell the bonds at a low interest rate and gain by earning interest on the funds generated, but bond interest rates have risen since they began talking about the bonds in the spring. 

Officials agreed to limit borrowing to 70 percent of future costs, with bond rates no higher than 5 percent. In addition, officials will look into whether they can use some existing funds to pay down the liability. 

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