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ATLANTA-DeKalb County, one of the metro area’s fastest-developing areas, has won a AA rating from Standard & Poor’s Rating Services on its $80.1 million GO refunding bonds series 2003B due Jan. 1, 2020. Developers have been aware of the county’s sound financial footing for some time, industrial brokers and independent land planners tell GlobeSt.com.

The bond issue will be retired at “an adequate pace,” with 56% of the principal and interest retired in 10 years, the S&P report says. All of the county’s debt will be paid off by 2020.

S&P analyst Andrew Clark calls the county’s financial outlook stable. He says the rating “reflects the county’s participation in the deep and diverse Atlanta economy; its above-average wealth and income levels; its healthy tax base growth; its sound financial position; and its low-debt burden.”

Clark says “these strengths are partially mitigated by increased expenditures resulting from growth pressures associated with rapid population increases.”

The analyst notes that overall sales tax receipts are expected to be $300,000 to $400,000 lower in 2003 than in 2002, due partially to the general economic decline. Additionally, the Georgia Supreme Court has ruled the county must make a retroactive payment to the city of Decatur to honor a sales tax agreement that could total $1 million. The exact terms of the payment amount is still in litigation.

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