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District Bonds Universally Rated 'Investment Grade'

Thursday, June 17, 1999

WASHINGTON, DC - The last of three major rating agencies today rated District bonds as investment grade, reflecting Wall Street's confidence in the city's financial stability. Citing a "dramatic turnaround in financial operations," Fitch IBCA upgraded raised its rating of $3.2 billion in general obligation bonds from 'BB+' to 'BBB.'

"The third upgrade proves the District has passed the point of no return-we are well on our way to becoming one of the best-run cities in America," said DC Mayor Anthony A. Williams. "I was pleased to see that our strategy of conservative revenue estimating, and improved financial management was cited by Fitch in their decision to make the upgrade."

Chief Financial Officer Valerie Holt said, "We are proud to receive this upgrade. It reinforces our commitment to meet the challenges of maintaining fiscal discipline and further enhancing our ratings."

Fitch noted that "improved tax administration and budget management" have led to operating surpluses, as well as the achievement of a fund balance three years ahead of schedule under the Control Act.

Deputy CFO and Treasurer Thomas F. Huestis estimates the upgrade will save the city millions of dollars in an upcoming bond issuance slated for late July.