Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Council President Gabe Albornoz have announced that the County has maintained its “Triple-A” bond rating for 2022 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 as the County continues to rebound from the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis. This was accomplished as the County met its longstanding fund balance reserve target of 10 percent.
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 (50 consecutive years); from Standard & Poor’s every year since 1976 (47 consecutive years) and from 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, fiscal management policies and strong financial position.
- The Fitch Ratings report stated: “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.”
- The Moody’s report stated: “Montgomery County, Maryland's (Triple-A stable) credit profile will continue to benefit from a dynamic and expanding economy, very affluent resident population, and a growing and highly educated work force. These strong economic and social factors, coupled with the County's prudent financial management, have contributed to a long-term trend of growing revenues, surplus operations, and improving reserve levels.”
- The Standard & Poor’s report stated: “The County's very strong property wealth and income levels, robust local job market, and access to the greater Washington, D.C. area for employment opportunities, in addition to well-established financial policies and practices, anchor Montgomery County's credit quality. The County has leveraged its very strong economic underpinnings to support its sound financial position, as the County has historically maintained strong or very strong budgetary flexibility.”
“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 more than three decades is a testament to consistent excellent financial stewardship, smart choices, and strategic 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. These funds are needed to continue to strengthen our County’s economy, create jobs and expand opportunities for our residents.”
County Council President Albornoz said the County has relied on traditional fiscal policies and has taken innovative steps where needed to maintain the bond ratings.
“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 long-standing and new fiscal policies that were necessary to maintain robust reserves, even as we continue to recover from the global pandemic. 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. This would not have been possible without the long-term fiscal planning done by the Montgomery County Council, especially Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee Chair Nancy Navarro and the entire GO Committee. We also recognize and thank County Executive Elrich and his fiscal team for their ongoing work and collaboration on this critical issue and the three bond rating agencies for their work.”
Councilmember Navarro, chair of the Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee stated: “I am ecstatic that once more Montgomery County has maintained its Triple-A bond rating. Montgomery County’s ongoing recovery efforts from COVID-19 have resulted in strains on our fiscal resources and government operations. It is our duty as legislators to act as good stewards of taxpayer money and to make decisions that fund needed services equitably and maintain fiscally responsible practices. This Council came together again this year to achieve these goals for our residents.”