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2/19/2013

Maragos: County Maintains A+ Credit Rating

Cost-reductions, lower borrowing and reasonable sales tax forecasts

Mineola, NY: Nassau County government’s ability to reduce costs, reduce borrowing and conservative estimates on sales tax led Fitch Ratings to maintain its A+ credit rating on County borrowings, Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos announced today. The A+ rating saves taxpayers money by securing a favorable interest rate for any borrowing.

"Fitch has acknowledged the County’s financial progress made through cost cutting, labor savings and restructuring of operations in affirming the County’s A+ bond rating," Comptroller Maragos said. "This is the fifth consecutive A+ rating for the Mangano Administration restoring the County rating back to 2005."

Fitch recognized the fiscal progress achieved and maintained by the County, by noting;

  • $20 million in savings from police precinct closures and $33 million from the privatization of the bus system;
  • Reduction of County workforce by nearly 20% since 2009 to 7,359 at the end of 2012;
  • Legislation eliminating responsibility for making property tax refund payments . . . effective in 2014 . . . would significantly reduce the County’s liability up to $100 million a year;
  • Debt ratios are moderate despite the county’s practice of bonding out tax refund payments.
  • Management’s ability to continue to reduce costs, especially labor, is essential to near-term budget balance and rating stability; and
  • "Reasonable" 2013 Sales tax growth forecasts for 3.7%.

The major ongoing concerns expressed include the impact of Hurricane Sandy, the “hurdles” from NIFA oversight and cost pressures from unfunded mandates and long term labor agreements.

Connect with Nassau County Comptroller Maragos Online:
http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Comptroller/index.html

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