Last week, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Council President Tom Hucker announced that the three major bond rating agencies 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 issuers of municipal securities, with the highest credit rating possible for a local government. The ratings keep borrowing costs low for capital projects and reflect the County’s sound fiscal policies, prudent long-range planning, and robust economy.
“Out of more than 3,000 counties in this nation, Montgomery County is one of approximately 50 counties with a Triple-A bond rating from all three credit agencies,” said County Executive Elrich. “To be among the few local jurisdictions to achieve this mark of financial stability for more than three decades is a testament to consistent financial stewardship, smart choices, and wise investments.”
“The County Council’s commitment to fiscal oversight has paid off for our residents,” said County Council President Hucker. “In 2021, we formally implemented long-standing and new fiscal policies to maintain robust reserves and allow us to cope through challenging times. Despite the huge challenges caused by COVID-19, Montgomery County has continued the longest string of AAA bond ratings of any county in the nation.”
According to a press release:
All three rating agencies emphasized Montgomery County’s large and diverse tax base, proximity to the District of Columbia, growing commercial and residential development in areas like Bethesda—as well as the County’s strong fiscal management policies.
- The Fitch Ratings report stated: “The ‘AAA’ rating is also supported by a demonstrated capacity to absorb the constraints of recessionary revenue environments and the fiscal decision-making to restore and enhance the county’s financial cushion and operations during recovery periods.”
- The Moody’s reported stated: “The stable outlook reflects growth in the county’s large and diverse tax base, which will likely remain strong due to ongoing commercial and residential development and the county’s close proximity to the District of Columbia (Aaa stable). The outlook also incorporates the likelihood that the county’s financial position will remain stable relative to budget growth.”
- The Standard & Poor’s report stated: “We believe Montgomery County’s very strong local economy and demonstrated resilience to economic cycles, in addition to a very strong management team, which we expect will continue to make necessary adjustments to maintain structural balance, are all factors that provide rating stability. We believe these strengths will help mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the county’s overall financial profile.”
Councilmember Navarro, chair of the Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee, said: “I am ecstatic that once more Montgomery County has maintained its AAA bond rating. This past year was certainly the most challenging period since the Great Recession, putting new strains on both our fiscal resources and our government operations. It is our duty as legislators to act as good stewards of taxpayer money, to make decisions that both fund needed services equitably and maintain fiscally responsible practices. This Council came together to achieve both goals, and as a result Montgomery County is well positioned to begin the road to recovery in 2021.”