MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Moody's: Financial outlook is stable

NORRISTOWN After an 18-month dip into negative territory, the county's financial outlook has returned to stable, according to Moody's Investors Service.

The county's financial standing dropped in August 2013 due to low reserve funds and a lack of flexibility after several years of severe operating deficits, Moody's said.

In evaluating a $25.6 million general-obligation bond refund, the rating agency said Monday that the county had achieved "satisfactory financial position, average debt burden, and below-average pension liability" while maintaining its "sizable tax base with above-average wealth indices."

County Commissioner Josh Shapiro, in a statement, said credit ratings do not tell the full story, but "the upward trajectory is further proof that we are on the right track."

Moody's also affirmed the county's bond rating at AA1, the same level as Delaware County but lower than those of Bucks and Chester Counties. Bucks County's outlook was downgraded to negative in April due to insufficient reserves, Moody's said. - Jessica Parks