Modified: April 17, 2018 2:22pm
Wall Street rating agency Fitch Ratings (“Fitch”) has affirmed Erie County’s “A+” credit rating and pronounced the county’s rating outlook as “stable” in the county’s most recent ratings assessment, announced by Fitch on April 13. Fitch’s affirmation is reflective of steady growth in the county tax base, improving economic growth prospects, and stable financial operations. The report’s conclusions also note that Erie County’s financial reserves have been maintained at adequate levels and that the county’s long-term liability burden is low, while also noting a rise in county population of nearly 1% between 2010-2017.
“This affirmation by Fitch, an independent Wall Street entity, contains significant good news for Erie County. Not only does it identify our stable financial operations and improving economy but it also highlights the continuing positive results of my administration’s prudent budgeting and strong financial discipline,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “Beginning as Erie County Comptroller and now as County Executive, as the county’s fiscal watchdog I have overseen the path back to county budgetary responsibility since the Red/Green fiscal crisis, and for Fitch to affirm our A+ rating once again underscores our hard work through the years. A high credit rating means we can borrow at a lower interest rate and save millions in long term interest costs, which is great news for our community.”
Fitch also assessed the county’s budget management track record since 2009 (when the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority reverted to “advisory” status) as strong and notes that “management has consistently made decisions designed to enhance fiscal flexibility and achieve structural balance while keeping up on all required payments.” In addition, Fitch notes that Erie County has maintained reserves at about 8% of spending and has achieved operating surpluses in five of the last seven years.
# # #