West Haven, Connecticut, which has closed four school buildingsover the past two years and fired 14 teachers to help cut itsbudget deficit, is about to pay Moody's Investors Service almostdouble what it cost six years ago for a credit rating.

Joseph Mancini, finance director for the city of 55,000 nearYale University, says he has no choice other than to meet thedemands of Moody's after the municipality's bonds were downgradedto Baa1 in January, three levels above junk, from A2.

“The market's going to punish us for the rating we're at,”Mancini said in a telephone interview. “If we didn't get it rated,we would be punished even more.”

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