For the 13th consecutive year, global rating agencies Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s (S&P) have reaffirmed Arlington County’s Aaa/AAA debt rating – their highest rating, the county has reported.
“The County is pleased to once again receive these top ratings,” said County Manager Barbara Donnellan. “With ongoing economic uncertainty still facing the nation, it is important to protect the County’s triple-A ratings and to fund our critical investments at the cheapest possible cost to residents and businesses.”
Moody’s noted the County’s strong debt position, stable tax base and sound financial position. The company also noted the County’s strong long-term economic vitality and continued low unemployment trends: “The Aaa rating reflects the county’s strong long-term credit characteristics including a sizeable and affluent tax base, stable and carefully-managed financial operations with sound reserves, and moderate debt position with manageable future borrowing needs.” Since 2011, Moody’s has maintained a “negative outlook” on 36 local governments, including nine in Northern Virginia – including Arlington — due to indirect linkages to the weakened credit profile of the U.S. government. In issuing County bonds in 2011 and 2012, no noticeable impact to pricing was observed related to the negative outlook. S&P has also reaffirmed its AAA rating; its ratings report will be out in the next few days.
As part of each bond sale, the County receives ratings from all three ratings agencies: Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s, and Fitch. The Fitch rating is expected early next week.