S&P’s rationale notes county’s ‘stable financial profile, including historically strong operating performance’ and ‘good financial practices and planning’
S&P Global Ratings, an independent ratings agency, reaffirmed Erie County’s rating at “AA-” for the county’s 2021 general obligation bonds along with affirming a stable rating on the county’s existing general obligation debt.
In its report, S&P noted the county’s:
√ Growing, diverse local economy that anchors Western New York’s economy;
√ Robust, well-embedded financial management policies that are part of operations and a strong institutional framework;
√ Improving budgetary performance while maintaining strong fund balance and very strong liquidity; and
√ Manageable debt and pension and other postemployment benefits.
The report also notes Erie County is a certified StormReady community under National Weather Service criteria and is one of three certified silver New York counties under New York’s Climate Smart Communities program.
“S&P’s report is independent affirmation of the positive course that Erie County is on despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said. “Our Division of Budget and Management works hard to shape strong, realistic annual budgets that are fiscally conservative while investing in infrastructure and our community. That is the way to grow our economy and improve our county for the future.
“I thank S&P for their recognition of Erie County’s strong management and strong budgetary performance, as well as for their consideration of our environmental initiatives. Erie County's efforts to reduce carbon emissions and adhere to the Paris Climate Accord aren't just for show, S&P and their ratings agency peers know that governments who are prepared for climate change will be in a better financial position than their unprepared counterparts. Erie County's geographic position as a future climate change 'oasis' bodes well for our long-term stability and success."
The S&P Global ratings report also states that, “despite fiscal 2020 budgetary performance weakness, fund balance remains strong and in-line with formal fund-balance policies” and “overall debt has decreased because of management's focus on reducing debt.”
For more information on the Division of Budget and Management, visit http://www2.erie.gov/budget/.