(Paterson, New Jersey) – Today, Moody’s Investor Services upgraded Passaic County’s credit rating to Aa1 from Aa2. Moody’s cited a number of factors for the credit upgrade, including the County’s operational efficiencies, ongoing redevelopment and growing tax base, and conservative budgeting and ongoing expenditure controls. This is Passaic County’s third credit rating upgrade since 2010, demonstrating the strong financial management and conservative fiscal policies implemented by the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
“Once again, independent third party credit rating agencies are validating Passaic County’s strong financial position, conservative fiscal policies, and responsible stewardship of our tax dollars,” stated Freeholder Pat Lepore, Chairman of the Budget Committee. “The Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders made a concerted effort over the last ten years to get our fiscal house in order, and hard decisions made are continuing to pay dividends. This now ranks Passaic County as one of the best managed governments in the State of New Jersey.”
Moody’s Investor Services is a bond credit rating business that analyzes the creditworthiness of governments across the United States. The Aa1 rating is the second highest rating available from Moody’s, and demonstrates Passaic County’s high quality investment grade and its very low credit risk to investors. Consequently, Passaic County is now able to secure a better interest rate on bond issuances, resulting in direct savings for taxpayers.
“When Freeholder Lepore and I joined the Board in 2003, Passaic County’s finances were in a state of disarray,” stated Freeholder Terry Duffy. “By stopping one time gimmicks to balance the budget and implementing a long-term financial plan, the County is now able to boast one of the best credit ratings in New Jersey. This credit rating upgrade means a stable outlook for Passaic County taxpayers and continued investment in infrastructure, economic development, and the Passaic County Park System.”
A number of factors went into Passaic County securing its third upgrade in nine years, including:
The implementation of a cost reduction plan, resulting in the highest fund balance in the history of Passaic County and a 177% increase of fund balance over the last seven years.
Proactive increases in restricted reserves by 70% since 2017 and 397% since 2013 to plan for future financial emergencies, and limit financial exposure for liability, health benefits, and other unknowns.
Continued growth in Passaic County’s tax base of 11.02% over the past five years, with every Passaic County municipality experiencing positive growth.
“Under every key financial metric, Passaic County is trending in the right direction,” stated Passaic County Freeholder Director John W. Bartlett. “The budget remains stable, key reserves are growing to limit exposure to unknown financial emergencies, and redevelopment and economic growth is expanding across every sector in Passaic County. Moody’s third credit upgrade in nine years is independent confirmation that Passaic County is one of the best managed governments in New Jersey.”