Oneida County Continues on Strong Financial Path
2018 Fiscal Year Finishes in the Black; 2019 Credit Ratings Remain High
Oneida County remains in high financial standing as its 2018 fiscal year ended in an operating and budget surplus and stellar credit ratings have once again been issued by the three major national credit agencies for 2019.
“Strong, conservative policies have created a foundation that allows us to invest in our community and grow our tax base,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “The three national credit agencies have once again affirmed our conservative approach by maintaining our stellar credit ratings.”
Picente said the county finished 2018 with a $413,000 operating surplus which resulted in a budget surplus of $9.7 million. He said that strong management and sound fiscal decisions led to the Social Services and Public Health Departments — which account for more than 50% of the general fund — being $3.3 million under budget.
That, coupled with the sales tax and Oneida Nation gaming revenue that was collected last year exceeding budget expectations by $5.1 million, contributed to the surpluses, Picente said.
Fitch again rated Oneida County AA for 2019, while Standard and Poors repeated its AA- rating and Moody’s reaffirmed its A1 status.
“Maintaining our high credit ratings with these agencies helps to sustain our bonding costs at manageable levels without experiencing huge fluctuations in our debt service payments,” said Oneida County Comptroller Joseph J. Timpano.
The three major credit agencies pointed to several exemplary county management factors that contributed to their decision.
S&P said its rating reflects Oneida County's “strong management policies and practices, which support the county's very strong liquidity and strong budgetary flexibility” and “a history of adequate to strong performance over recent years, coupled with a manageable debt burden.” Moving forward, S&P said it anticipates “continued economic growth within the county as large scale economic investments continue to perform well.”
Fitch attributed its rating to the county’s “superior financial resilience, modest debt burden and manageable carrying costs” and that it “expects the county's tax base to benefit from ongoing economic development activity.”
Moody’s said the county’s management “has achieved fund balance targets through conservative budgeting” and “has proven capable of absorbing unexpected variances within the county's large budget.” It said that the county’s “debt and pension burdens are moderate, and fixed costs are affordable” and that it “benefits from a large and growing tax base … and a diverse local economy with a variety of healthcare, financial, government services and tourism-related employers.”
S&P and Fitch continued to proclaim the county in stable financial condition, while Moody’s does not generally assign financial outlooks for local governments.
To watch a video stream of the press confrence, click here.