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Montgomery Retains AAA Bond Rating

$319 million in county-issued bonds will go on sale next week.

Montgomery County bonds have again been deemed the soundest investment possible, one of the few county governments nationwide to receive a AAA bond rating from all three rating agencies, officials announced last week.

The top-tier rating means the county will find better interest rates on its capital borrowing.

The announcement comes after County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) and County Council President Roger Berliner (D) met with representatives of the bond rating agencies in New York last month, reported Bethesda Now.

Fitch, Standard & Poor's and Moody's cited the strength of the county’s economic base, as well as steps taken to right the fiscal imbalance that emerged as revenues fell off during the most recent recession, according to a county statement.

Under Leggett, the six operating budgets from fiscal 2007 through fiscal 2012 closed shortfalls of more than $2.6 billion and eliminated more than 1,200 employees, nearly 10 percent of the county government’s workforce. The fiscal 2013 budget passed this summer boosts spending by $200 million, up to $4.57 billion.

"We are successfully rebuilding our financial foundation and are on the right path to fiscal sustainability," Leggett said in a statement. "We continue to make the hard choices necessary to put ourselves on a much stronger fiscal footing, lowering our revenue estimates to reflect economic conditions and building our revenue base by planning for growth and attracting businesses and jobs. … Our challenges remain, but the decisions today by the bond rating agencies show that Montgomery County is on the right track."

Thirty-seven other counties—out of more than 3,000—nationwide received top marks from the three agencies, according to county officials. Montgomery County has held its AAA rating for more than a decade. That record was nearly marred in 2010, when Moody’s put Montgomery on a “watch list” before deeming the county “stable” that spring, The Gazette reported.

This year’s bond offering of $319 million will go on sale Oct. 10. The first series of bonds will total $295 million, the proceeds of which will go toward capital projects, reported Reuters. The second series will total $24 million, to help pay down debt service on General Obligation bonds and lease revenue bonds issued by the Maryland Economic Development Corporation, according to Reuters.

The county issued $325 million in bonds in 2010 and $580 million last year, according to The Gazette.

Bill Hussein O'Stalin October 02, 2012 at 05:54 PM
An insult is not an embracement moment Frank. And you engage in it with every post.
jag October 02, 2012 at 07:42 PM
"The future is clear. Higher property taxes and higher piggyback income taxes. The effect of political decisions often take years to manifest." You're commenting on how our current tax burden is very low and sooner or later people are going to have to start paying the real cost of things, correct? I agree. That's not a MoCo problem though. That's everyone's problem, thanks to a horrific decade of tax cuts and wars and recessions (good grief, I seriously had to pluralize all those. Thanks, W.) . Let us all pray by the time we finish digging out this hole there isn't yet another Bush to worry about.
Bill Hussein O'Stalin October 02, 2012 at 10:27 PM
No, I'm not indicating taxes are low. Maryland has some of the highest property and income taxes in the country. If you didn't know that you're an idiot.
jag October 02, 2012 at 11:03 PM
...except Marylanders and everyone else in this country has an extremely low tax burden by any and all indicator. Hence why even insanely rich people like Romney have a laughable 9% tax bill. "If you didn't know that you're an idiot."
Bill Hussein O'Stalin October 03, 2012 at 11:20 AM
I wasn't trying to embrace him Frank.

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