Despite being in the midst of a global pandemic, Moody’s Investigators Service has increased Rockland County’s bond rating.
This week, Moody’s announced that Rockland’s rating has been upped from A2 to A1.
According to Moody’s, the upgrade of the rating to A1 reflects the county's recently improved financial position which is being challenged with sales tax and state aid losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We regard the coronavirus outbreak as a social risk under our ESG framework, given the substantial implications for public health and safety,” Moody’s evaluators stated. “The coronavirus crisis is not a key driver for this rating action.
“We do not see any material immediate credit risks for Rockland County. Sales tax revenues for the year have been down over 8 percent and the governor is holding back 20 percent state aid putting pressure on the county's budget.”
Moody’s praised Rockland’s conservative budgeting, namely citing sales tax.
“However, the situation surrounding coronavirus is rapidly evolving and the longer-term impact will depend on both the severity and duration of the crisis. If our view of the credit quality of the city changes, we will update the rating and/or outlook at that time.”
Following Moody’s announcement of the increased bond rating, Rockland County Executive Ed Day said that the conservative steps taken by the county and state were contributing factors to the new rating.
“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 Legislation last week,” he said.
“To receive this type of news during a financially devastating pandemic is incredible and speaks to the work we have done over the last six and a half years to right Rockland’s fiscal ship.”
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