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Fitch Ratings affirms Erie County's A+ rating

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Tue, Apr 17th 2018 03:40 pm
Fitch's affirmation notes Erie County's steady tax base growth, stable financial operations, improving economic growth prospects
Wall Street rating agency Fitch Ratings 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 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 Erie County's financial reserves have been maintained at adequate levels, and and the county's long-term liability burden is low, while also noting a rise in county population of nearly 1 percent between 2010-17.
"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," Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said. "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 noted "management has consistently made decisions designed to enhance fiscal flexibility and achieve structural balance while keeping up on all required payments."
In addition, Fitch said Erie County has maintained reserves at about 8 percent of spending, and has achieved operating surpluses in five of the past seven years.

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