Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner today expressed happiness that Allegheny County’s credit rating has been increased by Standard and Poor’s. The agency raised the County’s bond rating outlook one grade from an A+ to an AA-, which is considered to be a “stable” rating. Wagner welcomed the increase and is pleased that Standard and Poor’s took this opportunity to recognize the steps made by Allegheny County to improve its fiscal health.
“My office has advocated over the past two years for three major fiscal improvements: 1) for the County to increase its fund balance, 2) for it to reduce its debt, and establish and adhere to a debt issuance policy, and 3) to develop a responsible and realistic plan for our pension obligations,” Wagner said. She noted her office’s persistence in urging for these changes, which have started to take shape after several rounds of appeals.
“We also work each and every day to establish and maintain internal controls over the $1.5 billion in County spending to ensure it is consistent with the best practices in governmental accounting. These efforts and achievements give ratings agencies and the markets increased confidence in what is going on in Allegheny County.”
According to Wagner, an improved rating could lead to lower borrowing costs and debt service to the County, which translates to overall savings for taxpayers. Wagner adds, “While there is still more work to be done, I am proud – and the taxpayers of Allegheny County should be proud, too – of the work done by the financial professionals in the Controller’s Office and in the County who have made this achievement possible.”