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Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus announced today that Moody’s Investors Service, the financial services ratings company, has upgraded Orange County’s financial outlook, raising the County’s bond rating back to Aa2 with a stable outlook from the lower Aa3.
An Aa2 rating reflects the stabilization of the County’s reserves and a large tax base that continues to expand average resident wealth and incomes, and a manageable debt burden. Moody’s specifically credited Neuhaus and the County Legislature’s success in rebuilding the County’s fund balance.
“We have stabilized County finances, settled union contracts, and worked hard with the private sector to grow the economy,” Neuhaus said. “This news is very promising, but we must be extremely proactive in continuing our efforts to grow the economy and make Orange County friendly for businesses to come here and to stay here. We must continue to employ leading managerial practices in our daily governance.”
Added Orange County Commissioner of Finance Karin Hablow: “This rating upgrade is really a third-party validation of all the hard work we have done under County Executive Neuhaus’ administration to restore the fiscal health of the County.”
When Neuhaus took office in 2014, the County’s financial situation was bleak. That same year, Moody’s twice downgraded Orange County’s financial rating, stating the County had a negative future financial outlook. Working with the Legislature, Neuhaus stabilized County finances by reducing long-term employee costs with buyouts for long-serving County workers.
The County Executive also settled every open labor contract, and worked closely with the County’s economic development partners to grow the economy. Moody’s responded to those efforts in 2016 by removing the “negative” financial outlook it had assigned to the County. Now, by officially upgrading the County’s finances, like any personal credit rating increase, it will be less expensive for the County to borrow money when necessary, and is also a welcome sign of economic strength to current and potential businesses.
“Moody’s is seeing what many are seeing; Orange County is open for business under the leadership of County Executive Neuhaus,” said Lynn Allen Cione, President of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce. “We have many innovative and respected companies here already, and more are interested in setting up shop in Orange County. A credit rating increase reinforces that the County is being managed well and will continue to flourish.”
For more information, contact Justin Rodriguez, Assistant to the County Executive for Communications and Media Relations at 845.291.3255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.