Rockland Sets Poor Standard

Standard and Poor’s joined Moody’s Investors Service in dropping Rockland County’s credit rating level on Friday, June 29, putting the county at just above junk status. In May, Moody’s Investors Service dropped Rockland and made it their lowest-rated county in all of New York.

Standard and Poor’s reps said they chose to make the move because of the county’s inability to issue a long-term deficit-reduction bond, the lack of a deal on $17.8 million in union concessions and a potential $40 million 2012 budget shortfall. Rockland wanted to borrow $80 million in order to pay off most of its $95 million deficit and then the county planned to use a new 4 percent tax on residential energy to pay off the loan.

The Assembly supported it but the Senate failed to consider it before adjourning its 2012 session. Rockland’s poor credit rating will make it harder and more expensive to issue debt and also risks attracting state overseers to come into the county and set up a financial control board.