9/24/15: Erie County Rated Positively in NYS Comptroller Fiscal Review

Modified: September 24, 2015 3:09pm

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Independent Findings Reveal County’s Fiscal Stress Score, Financial Standing Continue to Improve

ERIE COUNTY, NY—Erie County’s finances recently received a positive review from the state’s top fiscal watchdog, the latest sign that the county’s fiscal health continues to improve under the administration of Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz.

In his annual report updating his Fiscal Stress Monitoring System and his office’s analysis of Erie County, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli issued for the second year in a row a “no designation” rating, meaning his office has determined that Erie County is not susceptible to fiscal stress. The report follows the trend of the County consistently improving its fiscal standing and score. The State Comptroller’s analysis also reported that the County’s fiscal score improved dramatically over the past two years.

“While many counties across the state have been classified as being susceptible to, or are in significant or even moderate fiscal stress, I am pleased the State Comptroller has recognized that Erie County is not susceptible to fiscal stress and has identified our ability to show annual surpluses and no operating deficit,” said Poloncarz. “The Comptroller’s report is a validation of my administration’s consistent fiscal performance and discipline. These independent findings demonstrate our commitment to improving the county’s finances while still providing in a prudent manner the services expected by our residents.”

DiNapoli’s monitoring system uses weighted points to determine scores, with counties earning a score of 65 percent to 100 percent considered to be in “significant stress,” 55 percent to 64.9 percent as being in “moderate stress,” and 45 percent to 54.9 percent as being susceptible to “stress.”

The factors that determined each county’s score included total fund balance (reserves), any existence of an operating deficit, cash ratios and position, short term debt issuances, and debt service expenses. The County’s consistent annual surpluses, lack of operating deficit, increases in the county’s fund balance, and a positive cash ratio all played a key role in the County’s score reducing to 31.7 percent in 2014. That score improvement followed the positive trend that saw the County’s 2011 and 2012 score of 48.3 percent dramatically improve to 38.3 percent in 2013.

“This report coupled with Fitch Ratings recently upgrading Erie County’s credit rating from ‘A’ to ‘A+’ and Standard and Poor’s affirming our 'AA-' rating is a reflection of the hard work being conducted on behalf of our residents,” said Poloncarz. “I appreciate the independent recognition that validates the progress we have made over the past few years thanks to prudent budgeting practices and strong fiscal oversight.”