Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Greene County’s bond rating, reflecting a positive assessment of the County’s creditworthiness with its bond debt obligations.
On Tuesday, August 6th, 2019, Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Greene County’s bond rating to Aa2, an improvement over the previous rating of Aa3, citing strong financial management as evidenced by consistently sound reserves, conservative budget management and a formal policy to maintain reserves.
Moody’s is a globally-recognized financial research and analytics firm that rates debt and equity securities for government entities and commercial businesses. Their rating system indicates degrees of creditworthiness, including financial strength of the issuing entity and risks to investors. Aa2 is the credit rating agency’s third highest rating for fixed-rate debt such as long-term municipal bonds. It indicates that Moody’s finds the County’s debt to be of high quality and subject to very low credit risk.
Ben Maslona, Vice-President, Municipal Advisor for Fiscal Advisors and Marketing, Inc., commented “the benefits of the improved rating are reduced interest costs when the County issues debt, which ultimately saves the taxpayers money. The upgrade occurred in advance of a planned bond-sale next week for the new jail.” Fiscal Advisors & Marketing, Inc. is a registered independent municipal advisory firm working throughout New York State. They assist over 500 New York State municipalities, school districts and public authorities with various financial advisory services.
Greene County earned the upgrade after inviting a Moody’s analyst from New York City to visit the County for a day-long visit. The visit included a presentation by the County’s leadership that focused on the County’s strength on economic and fiscal measures, as well as a tour that showcased Greene County’s employment centers and economic development and quality of life assets. Following the visit, Moody’s conducted an independent review of County finances and operations.
County Chairman, Patrick S. Linger attributes the upgrade to “the Greene County Legislature’s conservative, forward-looking fiscal policies that support financial sustainability and economic confidence.”
County Administrator, Shaun Groden, noted “I’m proud of the County’s financial management team who have made fiscal responsibility core to everything they do, which allowed Greene County to receive this upgrade. This confirms our financial strength.”
Peter Markou, County Treasurer, agrees, “It’s gratifying to have Moody’s recognize Greene County’s track record of strong and effective fiscal management and our conservative nature of budgeting. The rating upgrade didn’t happen overnight, its taken years to achieve.”
Moody’s noted the County’s financial operations, writing “The County’s recently improved reserves and liquidity will remain sound given conservative budgeting of revenues and expenses. The growth in reserves over the past several years, including unaudited 2018, is largely driven by conservative budgeting of sales tax revenues and strong expenditure controls.”
This rating puts Greene County among eight non-NYC counties, including: Orange, Putnam, Dutchess, and Saratoga. Of those counties with the rating of Aa2 or higher, only two are considered rural, non-metro counties – Steuben and Greene.