by Heather B. Hayes
Washington County has earned high ratings from two of the country’s most influential financial agencies because of its strong tax base growth, low debt burden and solid financial position.
In late October, Standard & Poor’s awarded the county an “A+” rating, while Moody’s Investors Service, which first conducted an assessment of the county in 2003, upgraded its earlier score of “A3” to an “A2.”
Both agencies cited the county’s economic growth as an important factor in their scoring. They noted progress on The Highlands, a $40 million retail development, as well as other retail and commercial projects that are in preliminary stages.
The ratings give the county good credit potential for moving ahead on major capital projects and they will help bolster economic development efforts, says Washington County Administrator Mark Reeter. “From the moment we first make contact with potential companies, we have immediate credibility as a viable, well-managed and financially responsible location.”
Washington County plans to use its new ratings as a major component in marketing materials for business prospects. Its targeted industries include automotive manufacturing, distribution and retail.
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