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Who Gets the Credit?

New and veteran supervisors take credit for county's new AAA rating.

Some members of the Board of Supervisors have been squabbling over whether the current board or previous board is responsible for Loudoun County's new Aaa bond rating.

Vice-Chairman Bruce Tulloch, who met with the rating agencies, said he wanted to set the record straight Tuesday. "No one board can claim they did the job," he said, citing the work of the last four boards. "But I'm proud to say this board pushed it over the top. It is what it is."

Moody's, Standard and Poor's and Fitch each gave Loudoun County an Aaa rating. As a result, Loudoun will receive the most favorable interest rates on its outstanding debt and General Obligation bonds for financing of capital projects. Tulloch said the agencies acknowledged the county's growth and debt management in providing the solid rating.

Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) last week issued a press release crediting the current board. Jim Burton (I-Blue Ridge) came back with a memo attributing the success to the last five boards.

Burton's wrote, "Those who suggest that this upgrade occurred as a result of events and acts that took place during the first four months of this year are discounting two decades worth of work by staff and fiscal commitments by five separate boards." He also expressed pride in having served on three of those boards.

Delgaudio, Finance and Government Committee chairman, wrote in his release that the Aaa rating was the result of the new board's policies. "It wasn't until we dumped the policies of the previous board and adopted many of my proposals that we got this improved rating."

Delgaudio served on the last board. Its makeup was different from the current board, which has a Republican majority. He said he spent four years stressing the need for restrained spending and a healthy business environment.

"Let's work as a team and get the job done," Tulloch told his colleagues.

Burton said the rating increase represents the fourth in five years. "It's a very positive sign, a vote of confidence," he said. He cautioned, however, the board will have to work very hard to maintain it.