UPDATE (04-22-2013): Credit rating agency Fitch has also reaffirmed Arlington County’s AAA debt rating, making this the 13th consecutive year that all three rating agencies – Moody’s, S&P and Fitch – have given Arlington their highest ratings of Aaa/AAA/AAA. Arlington remains one of a small number of jurisdictions with the rare triple-triple-A rating.
ARLINGTON, Va. – For the 13th consecutive year, global rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s (S&P) have reaffirmed Arlington County’s Aaa/AAA debt rating – their highest rating.
“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.
The high ratings ensures that the County will enjoy lower interest rates for its upcoming sale of General Obligation Public Improvement Bonds the week of April 29, and the upcoming sale of revenue bonds by the Arlington County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) the week of May 20. More information is available on the County website.
Arlington, Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the "10 miles square" parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. It is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, occupying slightly less than 26 square miles. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods, quality schools and enlightened land use, and received the Environmental Protection Agency's highest award for "Smart Growth" in 2002. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world - including the Pentagon - Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.