The nation’s top bond rating agencies have again affirmed Loudoun County’s triple-A rating on its general obligation bonds, noting the county’s solid revenue growth, diverse tax base, job growth and prudent financial management.
Loudoun County has held the Aaa rating from Moody’s since 2004, and AAA from Fitch Ratings and S&P Global since 2005. A statement from Fitch said that the rating reflects Loudoun’s “exceptionally strong operating performance, supported by solid revenue growth and expenditure flexibility.”
Moody’s cited Loudoun’s “sizeable and diverse tax base with strong long-term growth potential” and “consistently solid financial performance and a manageable debt burden.” And S&P Global highlighted Loudoun’s maintenance of “robust trend and forecasting data,” and strong financial practices.”
In advance of the announcement, county finance committee chairman Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles) said the county’s presentations to credit ratings agencies in New York were “the best that we’ve been able to present,” pointing to strong job growth and record-setting economic development.
He also said Metro’s beleaguered finances pose no threat to Loudoun’s credit health.
“I think even under the worst-case scenario, we would be able to handle our Metro obligation, and that’s really all the credit ratings agencies are going to be looking for at this point,” Letourneau said. “I don’t think it’ll be a major factor, and actually the feedback we’ve gotten repeatedly is how positive they are about Metro, what the growth opportunities are for us.”
A triple-A rating is important to the county government and taxpayers because it helps the county continue to get the best possible interest rates to finance capital projects, saving millions of dollars.
“Receiving the highest possible credit ratings once again is a testament to Loudoun’s strong economic growth, financial stability and positive momentum,” Letourneau said in a press release announcing the ratings. “The agencies all noted the Board’s strong fiscal management practices and record of meeting our County’s needs in areas like transportation, education and recreation. The ratings also reflect the strong potential for Metro to bring jobs and economic growth to Loudoun, which is the reality that we are already seeing on the ground every day.”
The three ratings agencies also affirmed Loudoun’s AA+ and Aa1 ratings on the county’s lease revenue bonds and the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan, which goes toward financing the extension of Metro Rail’s Silver Line into Loudoun County.
The reaffirmations of the triple-A rating come in advance of the upcoming general obligation bond sale in which the county expects to receive proceeds of $120 million for school and general government projects.
More information on Loudoun County finances and its triple-A status is online at www.loudoun.gov/BondRatings.