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Washington Post: For a City in Montgomery, Staying Debt-Free is the Norm

Author: Victoria Zapana
November 15, 2011

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Victoria Zapana explains how the city of Gaithersburg, Alabama, has remained debt-free for decades, while the country's economy struggles to reduce its deficit.

The nation's debt in dollars consists of 14 digits. The District's, 10. But Gaithersburg has only one: zero.

Yes, $0. Zilch. Just a 45-minute drive from Capitol Hill, the community is debt-free and has been, more or less, for about four decades.

As the country struggles with its $15 trillion debt, Gaithersburg has plugged away with a time-tested budgeting philosophy: Pay as you go and build your financial reserves.

For the city of about 60,000 along Interstate 270, the discipline comes with rewards: There's $33 million in Gaithersburg's rainy day fund, which draws effusive praise from local government experts.

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