Mayor Martin touts Stamford's AAA bond rating, which 'recognizes our thriving economy'

Stamford Mayor David Martin poses in his office at the Stamford Government Center in Stamford, Conn. Thursday, May 20, 2021.

Stamford Mayor David Martin poses in his office at the Stamford Government Center in Stamford, Conn. Thursday, May 20, 2021.

Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Connecticut Media

STAMFORD — A pair of credit rating agencies reaffirmed Stamford’s AAA bond rating as the city looks to issue $34.5 million in general obligation bonds this month.

Both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings assigned Stamford a AAA rating — the highest a city can get, according to a release from Mayor David Martin’s office.

Among other factors, S&P highlighted the city’s “good financial policies and practices” as well as its “very strong economy and wealthy tax base.”

“We believe the city’s ongoing developments will continue to expand its tax base and provide additional revenue-raising flexibility over time,” the agency said in its rating report.

S&P noted that the city’s market value grew 1.5 percent to $31.4 billion over the past year. Before the pandemic, more than 3,100 residential units were either under construction or had received approval to start construction. In terms of commercial property, the city has nearly 16.5 million square feet of it, with 1.2 million or so square feet of leasing activity.

Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the Board of Finance to lower revenue projections for the city, which resulted in major cuts to the proposed budget. The board also chose to not raise taxes.

But revenues ended up being much higher than assumed, Fitch said, citing early results. Stamford is now anticipating a surplus of more than $10 million.

“The economic impact of COVID-19 on our community required many difficult budgetary decisions in order to keep our city running at such a high standard,” Martin said in a statement. “I am pleased to announce that S&P has reaffirmed Stamford’s financial stability and recognizes our thriving economy after a period of such great uncertainty.”

Martin is up for reelection this year and has touted the city’s economic growth as part of his campaign.

Both agencies noted that the city — separately from schools — is set to receive a total of about $50 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. So far, the city has received half of the money and is directing the bulk of it toward capital projects.

brianna.gurciullo@hearstmediact.com