Westchester’s re-elected county executive is touting his county’s bond ratings, which he says are the best of any county in New York State. Yet a county legislator says there is a troubling piece of information.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino says Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings have confirmed Westchester’s AAA credit ratings. Astorino, a Republican, says a third agency, Moody’s Investment Services, gave the county its second-highest rating, which is actually a downgrade, from Aaa to Aa1. Democratic Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins says the negative financial consequences of this bond downgrade could have been avoided through greater cooperation and collaboration between the Administration and the Board of Legislators. Astorino notes Moody’s main concern is the county government’s participation in the state’s pension amortization program and its effect on the county’s budget reserves. He says he entered into the program rather than increase taxes or implement layoffs.