Moody’s Investors Service today announced that Rockland County’s general obligation bonds have been upgraded one notch to Baa2 from Baa3. Moody’s has also changed the outlook on the Baa2 rating to “positive” from “stable.”

In its rating rationale, Moody’s shared the following:

“The upgrade to Baa2 reflects significant improvement in the county’s management and budgeting practices; strengthened liquidity following the issuance of deficit reduction bonds and strong oversight by the state.

“The improved bond rating signifies increased stability for investors, which is expected to translate into a lower interest rate for taxpayers in the county.”

Other Ratings Report highlights include:

“The positive outlook reflects our expectation that the strong budgeting practices will continue, resulting in improved financial operations in 2014 and 2015. Additionally, management recently announced the transfer of the county’s mental health facility to Nyack Hospital and the sale of the county nursing home, likely resulting in significant expenditure savings over time.”

“After four years of downgrades and projections of worsening finances, Moody’s has taken positive action regarding Rockland County,” said County Executive Ed Day.  “This improvement reflects the commitment of my Administration to rebuild the County’s fiscal foundation and streamline operations, including millions in actual payroll savings, since January first.”

Day continued, “Today’s upgrade is confirmation that my administration’s strategic cost-saving measures and consolidations – including the pending sale of Summit Park Hospital and Nursing Care Center for $36 million and the transfer of mental health inpatient services to Nyack Hospital  – are helping to turn the corner toward stabilizing the county’s finances.  We will continue to work diligently to ensure that the county’s bond ratings remain strong and stable. We’re moving in the right direction!”

Rockland’s delegation to the New York State Legislature also issued a press release:

Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) said, “The report issued today by the credit rating agency Moody’s, upgrading Rockland County’s bond outlook to Baa2 and a positive outlook, is very good news for Rockland taxpayers. Working together, we were able to deliver on strong State oversight of Rockland’s budgeting practices which Moody’s directly refers to in their report as a major reason for the upgrade. I will continue to work together to make sure Rockland continues on this path of positive fiscal improvement.”

Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-New City) said, “Today’s  upgrade of Rockland County’s credit rating by Moody’s is a step in the right direction toward long-term financial stability.  The county not only received an upgrade of their credit rating to a Baa2, but was also issued a positive outlook. In assigning the positive outlook, Moody’s credited the county’s continued commitment to improve their fiscal health and the unprecedented state oversight that we advocated for as part of the deficit financing law.”

Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern) said, “I am pleased that Rockland County’s bond rating has been upgraded and that our assistance with the deficit reduction bond allowed them the time they needed to move in the right direction. This is great news.”

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