June 7, 2014 at 1:39 AM
UNION COUNTY, NJ - Fitch has affirmed the County’s AA+ rating for its upcoming bond sale. In upgrading the County’s outlook to Stable, the just-released official Fitch rating cites the County’s return to structural balance over the past several fiscal periods, along with expectations for balanced operations in fiscal year 2014.
“Fitch noted that the County’s emphasis on building reserves and cutting costs played a significant role in the upgraded outlook, and we will continue to work along this successful, entrepreneurial management track while continuing to improve and enhance key County services,” said Freeholder Chairman Christopher Hudak.
“Over the past several years, the Freeholder Board and County Manager have worked diligently to create a prudent fiscal platform for continued stability, and it is very gratifying to see this effort reflected in the latest Fitch analysis,” said Freeholder Vice Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh, who heads the County’s Fiscal Committee.
Fitch also credited the County’s “broad and diverse economy” for the upgraded outlook, specifically in the pharmaceutical, technology, petrochemical and health care sectors as well as the County’s transportation sector, which Fitch noted includes Newark Airport and the Port of Elizabeth, the largest seaport on the east coast.
In addition, Fitch noted that the recent sale of the County’s Runnells Specialized Hospital will “relieve pressures” related to significant annual subsidies. Under the terms of the sale, the hospital will continue to provide its services to County residents.