10/13/14: Fitch Ratings Raises County's Credit Outlook to Positive

Modified: January 23, 2015 3:19pm

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Fitch Notes the County’s “Fiscal Discipline” and “Prudent Financial Management” Outlook
Upgrades Often Precede Rating Upgrades

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Wall Street rating agency Fitch Ratings (“Fitch”) has announced an upgrade to Erie County’s (“County”) credit rating outlook, from “stable” to “positive”, and affirmed the rating at “A.” Fitch’s announcement follows a three-step rating upgrade by Standard & Poor’s on September 15th.

In preparation for the County’s forthcoming bond sale to finance its 2014 capital projects including road and bridge construction, Fitch conducted an analysis of the County’s credit rating.  Fitch noted many positive factors involving the County’s finances that led to the outlook being raised to positive from stable.  Fitch cited the County’s “fiscal discipline, resulting in a trend of positive operations and stable and adequate reserve levels,” as well as “prudent financial management.” In addition, Fitch noted the Poloncarz Administration’s “strong oversight of expenses.”

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said, “Fitch’s rating action highlighted my administration's prudent budgeting, our strong fiscal discipline and reduced expense. This acknowledgment from an independent Wall Street financial entity validates the hard work of my administration and our budgeting and fiscal practices, particularly as we prepare to issue the 2015 Erie County Budget.”

When rating agencies review municipal governments’ credit rating, an improvement in the outlook from stable to positive often portends a future rating upgrade. In this instance, if Fitch upgraded Erie County, it could rise to the A+ level or to the AA- level which the County holds with Standard & Poor’s.