WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia’s chief financial officer warned the city’s new leaders against writing a fiscal 2012 budget that draws on the general fund balance to pay for operations, saying that balancing the budget in this manner for the fifth straight year could threaten the district’s credit rating and reputation with bond ­investors.

In a three-page letter to the new mayor, Vincent Gray, and city council chairman Kwame Brown — both sworn in last week — district CFO Natwar M. Gandhi said the district’s credit rating “is now at risk,” and that a fiscal 2012 budget should be approved without tapping reserves.

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