- Outstanding financial performance
- Sizable and diversifying tax base with above-average demographics
- Strong economy
For the 15th year in a row, all three credit ratings agencies have reaffirmed Arlington County’s debt ratings of Aaa/AAA/AAA– the highest ratings. Arlington is one of just 39 Counties in the United States to receive the highest rating from all three credit agencies for its bonds.
“Retaining the County’s AAA ratings is critical to ensuring the absolute lowest interest rates on our General Obligation bonds,” said Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan. “These low rates ensure that the County and Schools bond- financed projects use every tax dollar as effectively as possible.”
Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service issued their ratings Tuesday, May 19. Standard & Poor’s ratings were made public Thursday, May 21.
- Moody’s noted that “the stable outlook reflects our expectation of continued stability in the diversifying base and sound financial operations.”
- Fitch noted that “the County’s financial profile remains sound and well managed.” The agency also noted that “debt levels are expected to remain moderate given prudent planning and adherence to conservative debt policies.”
- Standard and Poor’s noted the County’s “very strong management conditions with strong policies and practices in addition to a consistent ability to maintain balanced budgets.” The agency noted also that “the stable outlook reflects our opinion of Arlington County’s strong economy, excellent financial management, and moderate debt.”
Highest ratings ensure lowest interest rates for 2015 bond sale
Having a Aaa/AAA/AAA rating ensures that the County will enjoy lower interest rates for its upcoming sale of the Series 2015 General Obligation Public Improvement and Refunding Bonds the week of June 1. These are bonds previously approved by voters to finance capital improvements, fund Metro and for other uses. At its May 16 Regular County Board Meeting, the Board authorized the sale of up to $77.4 millionin General Obligation Public Improvement Bond sales and up to $200 million in bond refunding. The County refunds bonds whenever it can achieve lower interest rates. In the past five years, the County has saved taxpayers more than $23 million through refunding bonds at lower interest rates.
About General Obligation Bonds
General Obligation Bonds are debt instruments issued by states and local governments to raise funds for public works. Arlington’s GO bonds are 20-year bonds backed by the County’s full faith and credit. Ratings agencies base their bond ratings on their analysis of the locality’s ability to pay back bonds through taxes and revenues. To learn more about how the County uses bonds, visit the County website.