Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Council President Gabe Albornoz announced that the three major bond rating agencies reaffirmed the County’s AAA rating.
Fitch, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s ratings 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 are significant as the County continues to rebound from the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis while maintaining its longstanding fund balance reserve target of 10 percent.
Montgomery County has earned AAA ratings from Moody’s every year since 1973 (50 consecutive years), Standard & Poor’s every year since 1976 (47 straight years), and Fitch every year since 1991 (32 consecutive years). All three rating agencies emphasized the County’s large and diverse tax base, proximity to the District of Columbia, growing commercial and residential development, and strong fiscal management policies.
“Wall Street’s watchdogs have once again found our local economy and County management practices as amongst a handful of the very best in the country,” said County Executive Elrich. “Out of more than 3,000 counties in this nation, Montgomery County is one of approximately 50 with a Triple-A bond rating from all three credit agencies. This mark of financial stability for over three decades is a testament to consistent excellent financial stewardship, smart choices, and strategic investments.”
The ratings keep borrowing costs low for capital projects, saving County taxpayers millions of dollars over the life of the bonds. “This bond rating saves our taxpayers millions of dollars in lower interest rates and demonstrates to the financial community that purchasing Montgomery County bonds is a wise investment.” County Executive Elrich said. “These funds are needed to continue strengthening our County’s economy, creating jobs, and expanding our residents’ opportunities.”
According to the Fitch Ratings report:
The ‘Triple-A’ Issuer Default Rating (IDR) and GO bond rating reflect the county’s stable economic underpinnings, superior gap-closing capacity, and low long-term liability burden. The ‘Triple-A’ rating is also supported by a demonstrated capacity to absorb revenue losses during periods of economic downturn and management’s ability to make sound fiscal decisions to restore and enhance the county’s financial cushion and operations during recovery periods.
“Montgomery County’s steadfast commitment to maintaining its fiscal principles during challenging times and our ongoing responsible fiscal management has enabled our community to maintain its coveted Triple-A bond rating again this year,” said Council President Albornoz. “The Council relied on longstanding and new fiscal policies necessary to maintain robust reserves, even as we continue to recover from the global pandemic. As a result, despite the many challenges caused by COVID-19, Montgomery County has continued the longest string of Triple-A bond ratings of any county in the nation.”