Essex County has received an upgraded bond rating to AA-plus with a positive financial outlook from Fitch Ratings, County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo announced on Tuesday.
Moody’s Investor’s Services announced earlier this month that Essex County has retained its Aaa bond rating, This is the first Fitch upgrade in five years; it had previously been Aaa-stable.
DiVincenzo has mounted a 20-year fight to improve Essex County’s bond rating. He had inherited a $64 million budget deficit after winning his first county executive race in 2002 and Moody’s was on the verge on downgrading the county to junk bond status.
“Earning, and then maintaining, the highest bond ratings always has been my goal because it demonstrates to Wall Street that investing in Essex County is a good decision. It also enhances property values for our residents and makes us more attractive for businesses,” stated DiVincenzo. “This demonstrates our commitment to ensuring fiscal stability.”
DiVincenzo, whose 2022 budget included a zero percent property tax increase for the first time since he took office, is a shoo-in for re-election in November against Republican Adam Kraemer.