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ATLANTA-Growing commercial real estate hub DeKalb County has received a AA+ rating from Standard & Poor’s Corp. for its $15.5 million series 2003 bonds. The county plans to use the proceeds to buy land and build a new Juvenile Justice Center, according to S&P’s prepared statement. The bonds will be sold July 1.

“The stable outlook is based on the expectation that the county will maintain its sound financial position while retiring its low debt burden and managing the growth pressures associated with rapid population increases,” says S&P credit analyst Andrew Clarke.

The bonds are secured by intergovernmental lease payments to be made to the DeKalb County Building Authority by the county to pay debt service on the bonds. Under the lease, the county has agreed to levy an ad valorem property tax “without limitation as to the rate or amount” on all property in the county to meet its lease obligations.

Clarke says the AA+ rating reflects security provided by DeKalb County’s GO equivalent pledge and the following factors: above average wealth and income levels; a healthy tax base growth; a sound financial position; a low debt burden; and the county’s “participation in the deep and diverse Atlanta MSA economy.”

The S&P analyst says that “because of the nature of the pledge, Standard & Poor’s regards it as equivalent to a GO pledge and makes no distinction in the rating.”

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