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MOODY'S DOWNGRADES ROCKLAND COUNTY, NEW YORK GENERAL OBLIGATION RATING FROM 'Aa' TO 'A1'

 MOODY'S DOWNGRADES ROCKLAND COUNTY, NEW YORK GENERAL OBLIGATION
 RATING FROM 'Aa' TO 'A1'
 NEW YORK, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Effective today, Moody's Investors Service downgraded the general obligation bond rating of Rockland County, N.Y., from 'Aa' to 'A1'. The review was completed in conjunction with the sale of $9.95 million of various purposes (serial) bonds, 1992, scheduled for Oct. 15.
 In lowering the rating, Moody's noted that "this affluent, suburban county's financial position has deteriorated rapidly in the past two years primarily because of escalating property tax delinquencies, rising social service expenditures and lower than expected sales tax revenue. The county has responded by twice increasing the sales tax rate, eliminating 10 percent of budgeted positions and significantly raising the property tax levy. Nonetheless, these steps were not sufficient to prevent the county from having to borrow increasingly for cash flow purposes. The General Fund balance ended last year with a very small surplus and $30 million of cash flow notes outstanding. Financial performance remains weak this year and fund balance could well decline again unless several large tax delinquents pay before the end of the year. Despite the steps taken thus far, the county's financial position is still highly vulnerable and management faces the need for additional measures in the 1993 and 1994 budgets to restore a sound financial balance and eliminate the recent practice of rolling cash flow notes."
 Moody's went on to say that "with the second highest median family income among New York counties, a well diversified economy anchored by pharmaceutical and communications companies, and a strategic location close to likely future growth areas of the New York City region, Rockland County possesses a strong economic base that has not been as severely affected by the recession as many other areas of New York and New Jersey. However, as the guarantor of all school district and town levies, the county's financial position is vulnerable to even a modest increase in tax delinquencies. Debt burden remains average and should be easily managed by the county, although the substantial amount of short term borrowing is a concern."
 This rating action applies to $120.9 million of general obligation bonds outstanding after the scheduled sale of $9.95 million of general obligation bonds on Oct. 15.
 -0- 10/13/92
 /CONTACT: Michael Johnston, vice president/manager of Mid-Atlantic Ratings Group, 212-553-7810, Marie S. Pisecki, assistant vice president/supervisor - Mid-Atlantic Ratings Group, 212-553-7120, or John Nelson, senior analyst - Mid-Atlantic Ratings Group, 212-553-4096, all of Moody's Public Finance Department/ CO: ST: New York IN: SU: RTG


AH-PS -- NY083 -- 9521 10/13/92 16:48 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 13, 1992
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