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Moody’s, one of the nation’s top bond rating agencies, has upgraded King George County’s bond rating from Aa2 to Aa1, the second highest bond rating given by Moody’s. Similar in nature to that of a person’s individual credit score, a bond rating reflects a government’s willingness and ability to repay funds it has borrowed for large capital projects, such as buildings and schools.
Moody’s noted the upgrade to Aa1 from Aa2 as a reflection of the county’s strong financial performance, which has resulted in ample reserve and liquid assets. The agency stated in its analysis of King George County’s financial position that the local economy is diverse with upcoming residential, commercial and industrial developments, as well as the stability of the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division being located within the county.
The upgrade derives from the county’s forthcoming issuance of $21 million in public facility revenue bonds through the King George Economic Development Authority. These bonds will fund the land acquisition, engineering, architecture and construction of a new fire station in Dahlgren. The funds will also support the engineering and architecture plans for a new preschool. Both projects are replacing depreciating infrastructure. Due to the upcoming issuance of funding for future projects, Moody’s also noted that the county is expected to remain at current leverage levels considering the existing debt profile of the county is repaid in a timely manner and structured to allow for the integration of new issuances of funds without causing instability to annual financial requirements.
“On behalf of the King George Board of Supervisors, I am pleased that King George County has received an upgrade in bond rating from Moody’s. As board members, we are faced with tough decisions for the betterment of our community. This upgrade in the county’s bond rating proves the rigorous and reliable fiscal policies of county administration, staff and the board of supervisors directly result in financial success for King George County. We are practicing sound financial management while also improving our county services with a new fire station and preschool. With this upgrade in bond rating, we can invest in our community and remain responsible stewards of tax dollars by meeting capital and operation needs of the county at the lowest possible cost to our residents,” said Chair of the King George Board of Supervisors Richard Granger.
The county maintained its very strong bond ratings from the other two top agencies in the country with AA+ from Standard & Poor’s and AA from Fitch. King George County continues to receive investment grade ratings from all the major rating agencies, which in turn allows the county to receive lower borrowing rates on its bonds.
“It is gratifying that King George's adherence to its fiscal policies and financial management have been recognized with an upgrade in its credit rating,” said King George County Administrator Chris Miller.
An upgrade in bond rating is important to 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. The upgrade comes in advance of the county’s upcoming sale of public facility revenue bonds through the economic development authority; the proceeds of which will be used for school and public safety projects.