SCHENECTADY COUNTY — The county has retained its Aa1 credit rating from Moody’s Investor Services, county officials said Wednesday.
The county is one of only four in New York state to achieve that rating, which is Moody’s second-highest.
“Schenectady County is proud of our fiscal management strategies and unified economic efforts that have created a growing tax base and helped us retain this strong bond rating,” said County Legislature Chairman Anthony Jasenski, D-Rotterdam.
Moody’s has previously given the county an Aa1 rating. The last change was when a “negative” outlook on the rating was removed in 2014. A higher credit rating generally means borrowing will cost less, as investors will see the county’s bonds as low-risk.
“The Aa1 rating reflects the county’s sizeable tax base, above-average socioeconomic indicators, satisfactory reserve levels, and manageable debt and pension burden,” Moody’s said in releasing the rating. “The rating also incorporates the county’s sound fiscal management.”
The county went to the rating agency this year because it has plans to refinance $4.95 million in old debt, which is expected to lower interest costs. The original debt is from 2007 and 2008, county spokesman Joe McQueen said.
The Legislature is also using part of the first year of revenue from the Rivers Casino & Resort to pay off existing debt, county officials noted.
“Combined with this refinancing, we will reduce the debt service costs, saving taxpayers nearly $900,000 annually,” said Legislator Philip Fields, D-Schenectady, chairman of the county’s Ways and Means Committee. “These savings are evidence of our sound fiscal policies and allowed us to freeze taxes in 2017 and provide a one percent tax cut in 2018.”