New City, NY, – County Executive Ed Day and Commissioner of Finance Stephen DeGroat announced that Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the County’s issuer and general obligation limited tax (GOLT) ratings to Aa2 from A1 (a double upgrade) noting that Rockland’s outlook remains stable.
“To receive a double upgrade while we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic is incredible and speaks to the work we have done over the last 7 and ½ years to right Rockland’s fiscal ship,” said County Executive Ed Day. “Moody’s clearly approves of the proactive steps we took early in the pandemic to the limit the fiscal damage caused by COVID-19.”
As the rationale for the ratings increase, Moody’s Investors Service Rating Action cited, “The upgrade to Aa2 reflects a reserve position that continues to improve despite the pressures placed upon the county during the pandemic. Sales tax revenues, which were projected to be hard hit in 2020 fared better than expected.”
The Moody’s Rating Action went on to say, “This, coupled with the county’s strong governance and conservative budgeting, particularly for sales tax revenues, is driving improved reserves. The rating further reflects a significant tax base, above average socio-economic profile and a manageable long-term liability profile.”
“This upgrade is all thanks to our talented and hardworking county employees who adapted so well during the pandemic to keep county government running and on the right track. We are making great strides in our recovery, and I have no doubt that by staying the course we will emerge stronger and better than ever before,” said County Executive Day.
Moody’s Investors Service also issued an in-depth Credit Opinion which attributed the County’s performance to Rockland’s conservative sales tax budgeting, “As late as August of 2020 Rockland was bracing for a decline in reserves anywhere between $15 and $65 million. Not only did those results not materialize, but management’s budgeting of sales taxes was a key to its operational performance in 2020.”
The Moody’s Investors Service Rating Action and Credit Opinion are available upon request.