Allegheny County receives upgraded credit rating

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Allegheny County’s credit score has gotten another boost.

Financial rating agency Standard & Poor’s issued a news release Monday saying that it was upgrading the county’s long-term rating by one step, from an A+ to AA-.

The upgrade gives Allegheny County its highest rating in nearly 12 years, the county announced today in a news release.

“This is great news for Allegheny County and really reflects that we are heading in the right direction and making headway in improving our financial outlook,” County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in a statement. “I am really proud of the job we have done in improving the fund balance, having an end-of-year cash balance, reducing reliance on one-time revenues for our budget and working cooperatively to address the issues that have impacted our bottom line.”

He lauded both former council President Charles Martoni and current President John DeFazio for moving budgets forward without requiring tax increases.

Mr. Fitzgerald also credited help from legislators in Harrisburg in securing transportation funding and pension reform with aiding the county in achieving a better credit rating.

The rating is the second highest grade issued by Standard & Poor’s. It signals “very strong capacity to meet financial improvements.” The negative sign attached to the rating is used to show the standing within the rating category. The agency described the county’s long-term bond rating outlook as “stable.”

“The stable outlook reflects Standard & Poor’s opinion of the county’s improved reserves and liquidity and its achieving a structurally balanced budget in fiscal 2013 without using one-time revenue,” the agency release said.

This is the second time in about five months that Allegheny County has received a bond rating upgrade from Standard & Poor’s. In August, Standard & Poor’s announced that it had increased the county’s long-term bond rating outlook to “stable,” a step above its former “negative” status.

Kaitlynn Riely: or 412-263-1707.

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