Town officials are hailing the decision by Moody's Investors Service to remove the "negative" outlook attached to the town's overall "AAA" fiscal status, while affirming that top-notch rating.

The credit-rating firm, in reclassifying the negative outlook as "stable," stated in a report released Thursday "reflects significant improvement to general fund reserves and marked progress toward curing a long-standing deficit in the town's Internal Service Fund."

First Selectman Michael Tetreau, in announcing Moody's upward revision of the town's financial standing, said in a statement: "It is a great testament to Fairfield's financial strength that Moody's has affirmed our community with the highest rating it can achieve along with a stable outlook.

Tetreau, who took office last year, credited efforts by the Boards of Selectmen and Finance, as well as the Representative Town Meeting, for working together over the last several years to address the issue cited by the credit firm.

Fiscal Officer Paul Hiller said, "I am extremely pleased that Moody's has recognized the bipartisan efforts made over the past 24 months to strengthen an already sound financial position."

The Moody's report says the AAA credit rating, with a stable outlook, apply to "$192.2 million of outstanding general obligation unlimited tax debt."

Moody's report highlights town strengths such as "conservative financial management practices with demonstrated ability to improve general fund reserves and address long-term liabilities," according to Tetreau.

This positive report follows January's bond refinancing of $26,775, 000 of previous debt, resulting in savings of more than $3.66 million over the life of the bonds. That was one of the highest saving levels in the history of Connecticut for this type of municipal debt, officials said.