Suffolk County’s bond rating is at its highest level in nearly five years, according to S&P Global Ratings.
The rating agency this week upgraded Suffolk’s rating from BBB+ to A-, the first time it's been that high since 2017, which credits the county’s commitment to improving the finances both short and long term, they stated.
“This positive news validates that our fiscally responsible approach to budgeting is working and moving Suffolk County in the right direction,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said in a statement.
“Even as we were forced to confront unexpected crises from Superstorm Sandy to COVID-19, we made the tough but prudent decisions to maintain fiscal discipline and protect the taxpayer.”
S&P gave Suffolk a “positive outlook,” again, citing “significant improvement to the county’s finances” due to high sales tax revenues and the federal government’s influx of pandemic aid over the past year."
Earlier this year, S&P first upgraded the county's financial outlook from negative to positive, with the report stating that the current “outlook reflects our view that if Suffolk can continue passing structurally balanced budgets and maintain its commitment to improving reserves, we could raise the rating further during our two-year outlook horizon.”
According to S&P, the bond rating reflects the improvements made to the county’s finances following sales tax revenue recovery and receipt of federal funding, offsetting financial losses experienced during the pandemic.
S&P highlighted the county’s improved financial management and budgeting practices, including the use of surpluses in ways that will allow the county to “maintain more stable finances in the longer term.”
“Today's announcement comes on the heels of a challenging economic period in which Suffolk County prioritized smart spending without compromising the essential services our residents depend on,” Presiding Officer Rob Calarco of the Suffolk County Legislature said.
“I am incredibly proud to have played a role in maintaining balanced financials in partnership with County Executive Bellone and all of my colleagues in the legislature.”
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