WCA's Call to Action Committee, our government watchdog group, presses both County Executive Rob Astorino and Legislature Chairman Ken Jenkins (pictured above) to protect the County's fund balance in November, 2011.
Moody's cited the county’s “substantial, wealthy and diverse tax base, average and manageable debt burden, and currently adequate financial position” as its reasoning.
However, Moody’s tempered its stellar rating with a negative outlook, noting that Westchester County's structural imbalance in prior years may limit financial flexibility and the ability to respond to mid-year revenue or expenditure fluctuations.
The Westchester County Association remains committed to maintaining or increasing the county's fund balance--essentially a rainy day savings account--that signals that the county can meet its obligations. In late 2011, we lobbied both County Executive Astorino and Legislature Chairman Jenkins to restore cuts to the fund balance that could have potentially lead to a Moody's downgrade. If the downgrade had occurred, it would cost Westchester more to borrow money, thus a cost being passed along in tax hikes.
We will continue to be strong advocates for Westchester's enviable credit rating during 2013 budget discussions and beyond.
Not a "Moody's" expert? Here's some info about them:
Moody's Investors Service provides international financial research on bonds issued by commercial and government entities and is considered one of the Big Three credit rating agencies.
Moody's ranks the creditworthiness of borrowers using a standardized ratings scale which measures expected investor loss in the event of default. Securities are assigned a rating from Aaa to C, with Aaa being the highest quality and C the lowest quality.