October 18, 2018 - Westchester County was notified by Moody’s Investors Services that Moody’s revised the County’s financial outlook to “negative” but maintained an Aa1 rating. 

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “This rating is certainly no surprise.  We have known for some time now that the County is in serious financial stress. We are taking steps every day to improve our footing, but the road ahead will be long.”

In the report Moody’s stated that 2017 ended much worse than anticipated.  In the report Moody’s wrote: “[The] Negative outlook reflects the continued deterioration of the financial position resulting from large one-time expenses over the past two years and the need for incremental recurring revenues to structurally balance financial operations.”

While Moody’s recognizes that the County has struggled in recent years with structurally imbalanced budgets and operating deficits, it also acknowledges that the recent settlements of expired union contracts have led to significant declines in reserves. 

In recognizing the financial hurdles the report also has a positive note, stating that the County’s deteriorated financial position is likely to improve in the near-term given strong financial management. Additionally, Moody’s observed “that now that all the union contracts are settled and all retro-active payments will be made or accounted for by December 31, 2018, reserves are expected to improve in the near-term given conservative budget management and revenue enhancements.”

Latimer said: “The County has tough times ahead, and we have to make hard decisions to right the ship.  I hope to have the County’s triple A bond rating return before I leave office.”