Rockland County got another dose of bad news when Standard and Poor’s on Friday downgraded the county’s rating to a notch above junk status.
In doing so, S&P joins Moody's as credit rating agencies that don’t like the county’s fiscal trajectory. They, too, cited Rockland’s failure to get state approval for $80 million in borrowing to pay down its deficit and for not getting millions in union concessions.
"While the county legislature has recently taken a series of steps to control and repair its financial position, a large component (union concessions) remains under negotiation," the ratings agency wrote in a report on the downgrade.
Despite taking actions earlier this year like cutting programs, laying off 102 workers, adding new fees and passing some costs to towns, the downgrade shows that the county needs to do more to get its finances in order. A lot more.
No small task, that’s for sure. But the county’s problems were years in the making and will require time – and leadership -- to fix. This recent downgrade is just another reminder of that.