Moody's Investors Service has upgraded the bond rating for McLennan County from A1 to AA as $10 million in general obligation bonds were scheduled to be sold yesterday for a new county jail.

Mary Francoeur, a Moody's senior analyst, attributed the upgrade to a steady growth in the tax base in McLennan County, where property valuations have gone up an average of 2.2% annually in the past eight years. "There is not huge growth, but it is steady," she said.

Francoeur said the county and its seat of Waco have seen job growth in recent years, including the addition of 1,300 jobs when Chrysler Technologies opened a plant.

Also, the county's largest private employer, Plantation Foods, tripled its staff growth within the past five years, Francoeur said.

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