Moody’s Upgrades Rockland’s Bond Rating

Rockland County Executive Ed Day and Commissioner of Finance Stephen DeGroat announced that Moody’s Investors Service increased the rating to Rockland’s Various Purposes Bonds and Refunding Bonds to A1 from A2. They also upgraded to A1 from A2 the County’s issuer and general obligation limited tax ratings. “To receive this type of news during a financially devastating pandemic is incredible and speaks to the work we have done over the last 6 and ½ years to right Rockland’s fiscal ship,” said County Executive Ed Day. “Moody’s clearly approves of the proactive steps we have taken to the limit the fiscal damage caused by COVID-19 and this shows that we must continue down that path by implementing the comprehensive plan and Resolutions we submitted to the County Legislature last week.”

The Resolutions called for the sale of the Sain Building, for the temporary addition of one-half of one percent to the local sales tax for a period of three years and for a three-week delay in submitting the 2021 Budget to allow for a more accurate revenue projection. As one of the reasons for the upgrade, Moody’s Investors Service Credit Opinion cited, “given management’s conservative budgeting in recent years, particularly for sales tax revenues, reserves have improved significantly over the past five years ending fiscal 2019 at its highest level in nearly 20 years.”

County Executive Day said that Rockland’s improved finances are a result of the efforts of many people, “I want to thank all of our hardworking employees who have learned to do things differently, often more efficiently over the years. It is thanks to their efforts that we were able to provide a high level of service to residents during the worst of this pandemic. By continuing to work together and take the proactive steps I am calling for I have no doubt we will overcome this current challenge and emerge stronger than ever before.”

The Moody’s Opinion noted the biggest issues facing the County in 2021 are sales tax and state aid revenues but concluded by writing, “given the renewed focus on conservatism in budgeting, we expect management will be willing to make the difficult decision necessary to put together a balanced budget.”