Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Council President Nancy Navarro announced that the three major bond rating agencies this week reaffirmed the County’s AAA bond rating. The ratings from Fitch, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s reflect the County’s status as one of the top-rated issuer of municipal securities.
“We view the county’s management as very strong, with strong financial policies and practices under our FMA methodology, indicating financial practices are strong, well embedded and likely sustainable,” Standard and Poor’s said.
The ratings translate into lower interest rates and reduced fees, saving valuable taxpayer dollars.
According to a press release:
Montgomery County has earned Triple-A ratings from Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. every year since April 1973 (47 consecutive years); from Standard & Poor’s every year since 1976 (44 consecutive years) and from Fitch every year since 1991 (29 consecutive years).
The analysis from Standard & Poor’s stated, “The county continues to see significant economic development that should aid in tax base growth. Notably, Marriott International is investing $600 million for its new headquarters in downtown Bethesda. Marriott broke ground last year and once the construction is complete, it is expected to provide at least 3,500 full-time jobs. In addition, there are sizable mixed-use developments occurring in Wheaton, White Flint, Shady Grove, and White Oak, Md.”
The Triple-A bond rating enables Montgomery County to sell long-term bonds at the most favorable rates, saving County taxpayers millions of dollars over the life of the bonds. The rating also serves as a benchmark for numerous other financial transactions, ensuring the lowest possible costs in those areas as well.
“I am pleased that this year continues Montgomery County’s long history of fiscal responsibility and maintaining a Triple-A bond rating,” said County Executive Elrich. “As County Executive, I have been determined to move the County forward with clear priorities and an improved way of governing— and I am appreciative that the rating agencies understand that our work is geared toward making our government more efficient and stronger for the long-term. I appreciate the careful analysis of our financial conditions and the declarations of the rating agencies that we continue to be good stewards of County finances. I also want to thank the County staff who conducted their work deliberately with a commitment to the financial health of our County.”
Council President Navarro, who also serves as chair of the Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee, said: “Achieving a Triple-A bond rating is a testament to our ongoing, long-term and strategic fiscal management and signifies that Montgomery County is among the best in the nation for fiscal responsibility. As Council President, I am extremely proud of the fiscal policies that the Council has put in place such as the six-year fiscal plan that increased the County’s reserves to 10 percent and the creation of a Consolidated Retiree Health Benefits Trust. Montgomery County has institutionalized strong fiscal management practices and managed our debt obligations, while at the same time making critical economic development investments to revitalize and jump start many areas of our community. The Council will continue to work with the County Executive to grow our County’s tax base through economic development initiatives by leveraging our outstanding community and business assets to promote future growth.”