Wall Street gives Montgomery County vote of confidence by continuing Triple-A bond rating

October 29, 2013

Wall Street’s three major bond-rating agencies have reaffirmed their faith in Montgomery County’s government, announcing that the jurisdiction would retain its Triple-A status.

The assessment, announced Monday by Fitch, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, is essentially a continued vote of confidence in the county’s ability to control debt and manage its finances. It allows Montgomery to sell bonds at favorable rates to raise money for capital construction and other projects, saving taxpayers millions of dollars in interest.

“The rating reflects our assessment of the county’s economic strength and well-embedded financial management practices,’ said Standard & Poor’s credit analysts Lindsay Wilhelm.

County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), who traveled to New York last week with Council President Nancy Navarro (D-Midcounty) to meet with analysts, said the rating is the “Good Housekeeping seal of approval,” and reflects difficult decisions made during the recession to close budget gaps and cut county payroll.

“Our ability to maintain our coveted Triple-A rating affirms my approach to putting the County’s fiscal house in order and reducing unsustainable increases in County spending I inherited, while investing in making government more effective and creating opportunities for the growth of good jobs in the future,” Leggett said in a statement.

Fairfax and Prince George’s counties also have Triple-A ratings. The District of Columbia rating is slightly lower, AA-.

Bill Turque, who covers Montgomery County government and politics, has spent more than thirty years as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Dallas Times Herald and The Kansas City Star.
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