Moody’s Investors Service has corrected its outlook to negative from stable on Montgomery County’s Aaa bond rating.
Six days before its Dec. 13 announcement, Moody’s had revised the Pennsylvania county’s rating to stable, assessing that Montgomery was not one of 36 local governments determined to be indirectly linked to the federal government.
“While the county is not indirectly connected to the U.S. government, this determination should not have changed the rating outlook. Instead, the outlook should have remained negative based on the county’s own credit characteristics,” Moody’s said.
The agency cited Montgomery County’s weakened financial reserves, continued structural imbalance, and the anticipation by management of several additional years of reserve draws, including fiscal 2010 and 2011.
The county is in the state’s southeastern region; its seat is Norristown.
Moody’s said the action affects $436 million of debt secured by the county’s unlimited-tax general obligation rating.