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Giambra Says County Borrowing Highly Rated

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Erie County Executive Joel Giambra says despite what his opponent claims, the county's "fiscal house is in order."

Giambra says Moody's Investors Service issued the highest bond rating on the county's cash-flow borrowing of $90 million in revenue notes. He says this is proof that the county is in good finanical condition," despite Buffalo's fiscal problems.

"In spite of some of the reports we've been hearing recently, based on the silly season -- the campaign season -- I'm very proud to announce and release these results," Giambra said.

Recently, Giambra's Democratic opponent Dan Ward said the county is "not doing well." Ward even accused Giambra of depleting surplus dollars and increasing borrowing to balance the budget and warned voters that the county is actually in a fiscal melt down.

But Giambra says the county's fund balance currently stands at $150 million indicating that the county's debt burden remains manageable.

"We have $7.2 million dollars more than when I took office in January of 2000," Giambra said. "I think you can see here based on the reaffirmation of Moody's ratings and their rating review, the county is in great finanical condition."

But Giambra did admit that the city's poor rating and state's fiscal troubles could eventually affect the county's credit standing.

"We're hoping to convince the rating agencies that obviously we have our financial house in order," Giambra continued. "The reaffirmation of this rating is indicative of that.

"But eventually the state's cash position is going to have an impact on Erie County government, Westchester, Suffolk and every city and county throughout the state."

Giambra says the new credit rating will save the county $300,000 in interest on borrowing and that in turn will save the taxpayers.