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Home > Leadership > City Comptroller > Press Releases > Moody’s Upgrades Buffalo’s Bond Rating to A1

Moody’s Upgrades Buffalo’s Bond Rating to A1

Comptroller Schroeder points to rating agency’s report citing “significant improvement of the city’s financial operations”

April 10, 2012 - Two months after publishing a report highlighting Buffalo’s diversifying economy, Moody’s has upgraded the city’s bond rating to A1, the highest in Buffalo’s history.

“Moody’s continues to take notice of the progress Buffalo has made, both in improving the city’s financial condition, as well as forging a new economy based on health care and education,” said Schroeder. 

The A1 rating with a “stable outlook” from Moody’s, one of the “Big Three” national credit rating agencies, is an improvement over the A2 rating the city has received in the two previous years.  The city maintained its high rating with the other two agencies, an A+ from Fitch and an A from Standard & Poor’s.

Schroeder went to New York City last month to present the case for Buffalo to all three agencies, along with the city’s budget director, Donna Estrich, and the school district’s chief financial officer, Barbara Smith.  Schroeder said that the team approach showed the agencies that all of Buffalo stakeholders are working together to protect the city’s finances.

“We were able to show that the comptroller’s office, the mayor’s office, and the school district are all on the same page, and we are all committed to the fiscal health of the city,” said Schroeder.

“This is great news for city taxpayers,” said Mayor Byron W. Brown. “It’s the latest sign of progress in rebuilding Buffalo’s economy, and reflects the city’s credit worthiness, strong financial position, and ability to repay debt that has a direct savings to taxpayers.”

The Moody’s rating report explains that the “upgrade to A1 reflects significant improvement of the city’s financial operations and liquidity,” and that the city “demonstrated conservative fiscal management and policies.”  The report cites the city’s Rainy Day Fund and four-year financial forecasting as policies that have helped improve the city’s finances.  

“In order to build on our recent progress, we must continue to manage the city’s finances with discipline and restraint, in addition to growing our tax base,” said Schroeder.

Schroeder pointed to UB2020, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s pledge of $1 billion in incentives for private sector development as major factors driving the growth of the city’s tax base.

In February, Moody’s published a report titled “Buffalo’s Economy Continues to Diversify, Led by Education and Health Care.”  The publication points to the cancer vaccine project at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, as well as the relocation of the University at Buffalo’s medical school to the medical campus as major catalysts in the city’s burgeoning health sciences industry.  The report also cites the Gates Vascular Institute and Kaleida Health’s new nursing home as other projects on the campus that will spur growth.

“The new medical campus and the expanding medical sector, including a number of highly paid research professionals, have been the driving factors in Buffalo’s growing tax base,” said analyst Robert Weber, assistant vice president of Moody’s.  “Buffalo’s recovery is one of the strongest of any city in the state, with job growth outpacing that of the nation as a whole.”