August 19, 2021

County Executive Elrich, Council President Hucker Announce Montgomery’s Continued ‘Triple-A’ Bond Rating and Status Among Nation’s Best for Fiscal Responsibility

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Council President Tom Hucker this week announced that the County has maintained its “Triple-A” bond rating for 2021 from the three major Wall Street bond rating agencies. The County continued its status as a top-rated issuer of municipal securities, with the highest credit rating possible for a local government. The rating is significant amidst the COVID-19 health crisis.

Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings all affirmed the Triple-A rating—the highest achievable—for the County. Montgomery County has earned Triple-A ratings from Moody's Investors Service, Inc. every year since 1973 (49 consecutive years); from Standard & Poor’s every year since 1976 (46 consecutive years) and from Fitch every year since 1991 (31 consecutive years).

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.”
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.

“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. 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. As we recover from the economic impacts and hardships from the pandemic, these funds are greatly needed to continue to rebuild our County’s economy and create jobs and opportunities for our residents.”

Council President Hucker said: "The County Council’s commitment to fiscal oversight has paid off for our residents. 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. This would not have been possible without the foresight and planning by the County Council, especially members of the Government Operations Committee and GO Chair Nancy Navarro.”

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.”