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Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2017
Contact: Jane Lerner, Director of Strategic Communications
Office of the County Executive (845) 638-5645

Rockland County Executive Ed Day Announces that the County's Bonds Have Moved into the A category: Savings for Taxpayers


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NEW CITY, NY – Rockland County Executive Ed Day announced today that for the first time in a decade Rockland's bonds are in the A category, a clear sign that fiscal policies he put into place are paying off for taxpayers.

The A- rating by Fitch is the county's fifth consecutive bond upgrade since 2014, when Rockland's bonds were rated just above junk and the county had a $138 million deficit.

"This is a development that matters to every person who pays taxes in Rockland County," Day said. "It means that we can borrow money as we do regularly to fund capital projects at a lower cost."

For a $30 million new issue 20-year-bond the difference between an A rating and a B rating is between $350,000 and $500,000, according to Rockland Commissioner of Finance Stephen DeGroat.

Rockland County has saved between $3 to $5 million in debt service since 2014.

"That is equivalent to a 3 to 5 percent property tax increase that did not happen due to our fiscal responsibility," Day said. "Think about it – that is 3 to 5 percent a year that your property taxes did not go up."

Rockland County's improved financial health has earned the trust of the financial markets, which are willing to pay a premium to invest in the county.

Rockland earned $11 million in premiums from its $96 million deficit reduction bond sale and $20 million in total premiums on all bond sales since 2014.

"This is how we are driving the deficit down without raising your property taxes," Day said. "That is what fiscal responsibility and the implementation of our era of renewal means to you, the taxpayer."

The County Executive said that Rockland's improved finances are a result of the efforts of many people.

"We thanks all of our talented and hardworking county employees, who have learned to do things differently, often more efficiently," he said.

The size of county government has been reduced by 22 percent and spending has been cut by 9 percent.

"We have halted the endless tax-and-spend cycle that helped turn Rockland into the most fiscally stressed municipality in New York," Day said. "That cycle burdened taxpayers with increases of 30 percent, 18 percent and 11 percent in the three years before I took office and shook the county to its core."

Rockland is now seeing the payoff in terms of greater financial stability and an improved bond rating, he said.

"We are poised to move into the future with our finances in top shape," he said.

The County Executive noted that the Fitch analysts rated Rockland's bonds as A minus with a stable outlook.

They made the rating with the expectation that that the county will eliminate its deficit and build up reserves.

"I hear what they are saying very clearly and I hope that the Legislature hears it too: If we do not bring down our deficit we risk all of the hard-won gains we have made. We could see our bond rating trend down again," Day said. "That means money lost and higher taxes. Remember those double-digit tax increases? We don't want to go backward."

Sale of the county-owned Sain building for $4.51 million would allow the county to reduce its remaining $10 million deficit by 40 percent.

"Just about everyone understands that the sale of the deteriorating Sain Building is crucial to the county's future," Day said. "Everyone but a certain group of 5 legislators. We know who they are and the voters of Rockland County know who they are. We remain hopeful that they will put their petty political games aside and do the right thing for the future of Rockland County."