Ed Day, Rockland County Executive


October 28, 2016

Contact: Jane Lerner, Director of Strategic Communications
Office of the County Executive (845) 638-5645

Rockland County Earns 4th Credit Agency Upgrade Under Day Administration

NEW CITY, NY – Rockland County Executive Ed Day announced today that the county has earned another upgrade from a credit rating agency – the fourth of his administration and another sign of Rockland's improving finances.

S&P Global Ratings raised the bond rating for the county to BBB+ with a positive outlook. The new ranking is one step below A grade.

"This is an important acknowledgement that we have made great progress toward our goal of fixing this county's finances," Day said. "Our hard work is paying off.

The upgrade means that the county will be able to borrow necessary funds at a lower interest rate, which will save taxpayers money.

Rockland County's bonds were rated one step above junk when Day took office on Jan. 1, 2014. 

He inherited a $138 million budget deficit. That deficit is now down to less than $17 million.

The vote of confidence from the rating agency comes just weeks after Day proposed a $674 million budget that stays within the state's 1.17 percent property tax cap. The budget reduces spending 3.5 percent while maintaining services.

The credit rating agency predicted continued improvements to the county's finances and said there was a one-in-three chance that it will make further upgrades in the next year.

"The higher rating reflects increased reserves following a 2014 deficit financing bond issuance and improved budgetary performance in subsequent fiscal years which we expect will continue," said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Timothy Little.

The credit rating agency also noted in its report:

• Rockland has a very strong economy
• The county has had an adequate budgetary performance, with an operating surplus in the general fund and break-even operating results in fiscal 2015.
• The county has very strong liquidity, with available cash at 13.2 percent of total governmental fund expenditures and 131 percent of governmental debt service.

S&P also pointed out that the county had been under "severe fiscal stress" for the past several years and that with a new management team in place the county's "financial performance is undergoing a positive transition."

The agency also noted that the closure of the Summit Park nursing home, which was losing more than $1 million monthly, is leading to greater stability in county finances.

The analysts said that the sale of the Sain Building in 2017 "would further improve the county's financial position."

"We will continue on this path of fiscal restraint and prudent spending, which is already having positive results," Day said.