Two Agencies Upgrade Bond Rating for Washington County, Maryland

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Follows Standard & Poor's AA+ Upgrade of 2014

“The rating increases are significant because it shows the County has managed finances in a way that contained operating expenses, borrowing has been at reasonable levels and we have used County resources to maximize efficiencies," said Gregory B. Murray.

Washington County, Maryland Government has achieved an ′AA+′ rating from Fitch for general obligation bonds (GO) and an ′Aa1′ from Moody’s for GO public improvement bonds and consolidated public improvement refunding bonds during recent reviews conducted by each agency.

The Fitch upgrade to ′AA+′ from ′AA′ reflects the County’s strong financial profile including revenue and spending flexibility as well as robust reserves in and outside the general fund. Moody’s upgrade from ′Aa2′ to ′Aa1′ reflects the County’s ability to maintain its solid financial position, supported by strong fiscal policies and practices and healthy reserve levels.

“The rating increases are significant because it shows the County has managed our finances in a way that we contained our operating expenses, our borrowing has been at reasonable levels and we have used the resources the County has to maximize efficiencies,” said County Administrator, Gregory B. Murray. “As a result of this management strategy and tough decisions that continue to be made, the economic downturn did not impact us as much as others that had a plan that was less defined.”

The County has maintained low debt levels through use of pay-go funding and prudent analysis of capital needs in the context of debt affordability guidelines. Additionally, the County’s strong financial management practices have resulted in healthy reserve levels which provide a sound financial platform.

Both agencies noted that the County prudently maintains debt affordability guidelines and will adjust future borrowing to remain in compliance. The guidelines show conservative debt per capita and debt service as a percentage of general fund revenues targets, and debt statistics remain in-line with those guidelines. The County's debt structure is conservative with all debt in fixed-rate mode and no exposure to swaps or derivatives.

The upgraded rating is even more significant in that it also applies retroactively to all previous bond issues and outstanding debt.

To review each report in full, visit:
Fitch - https://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/press_releases/detail.cfm?pr_id=984061

Moody’s - https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-upgrades-Washington-County-MDs-GO-Bonds-to-Aa1--PR_324491

For media interested in more information, contact Public Relations and Community Affairs Manager
James Jenkins at 240-313-2384.

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About Washington County, Maryland Government
Washington County, Maryland Government strives to fulfill its duty to the citizens of Washington County with regard to operational efficiency, fiscal responsibility, and responsiveness to the needs of the community. This vision is used to ably assist the Board of County Commissioners of Washington County in achieving goals for moving the County forward as present needs and future plans are addressed.

According to the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, the Washington County General Fund has one of the lowest costs per capita for services provided of all 23 counties and Baltimore City. This is attributed to the efficiency, staffing levels, and cost containment exhibited in Washington County Government operations. Visit http://www.washco-md.net for more information.

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