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La Plata, MD- Charles County announces that all three major national bond rating agencies have reaffirmed the county’s AAA bond rating for the third consecutive year. Charles County has held this AAA rating, the highest possible rating, from S&P Global Ratings (formerly Standard and Poor’s) since 2015, Moody’s Investors has assigned the bonds a rating of Aaa since 2016, and Fitch Ratings has rated the bonds AAA since 2010.
Bond ratings (expressed in letters from “AAA” to “C”) are grades given to bonds that indicate their credit quality. Private independent rating services provide these evaluations of a bond issuer’s financial strength, or its ability to pay a bond’s principal and interest in a timely manner.
“These ratings reflect the conservative financial planning and strong fiscal management that the county has put in place,” stated Commissioner President Peter F. Murphy. “In addition to careful stewardship of our resources, the county’s quality of life, including good schools, low crime, and stable tax base all contribute to the top credit rating we have earned.”
S&P Global Ratings noted the rating is based in part on the county’s very strong management, with “strong financial policies and practices.” The report also highlighted the county’s strong budgetary performance, with operating surpluses in the general fund and at the total governmental fund level in fiscal 2017. Moody’s evaluation cites a “healthy financial position supported by formal fiscal policies and long-term planning to support stable financial operations going forward” as evidence for its Aaa rating. Fitch Ratings referenced “the county’s solid revenue growth prospects, low long-term liability burden, healthy reserve levels, and superior inherent budget flexibility.”
County Administrator Michael D. Mallinoff, Esq., ICMA-CM stated, “I am proud of our team’s efforts to maintain the highest bond rating over the past three years. Through effective leadership and sound management practices, our fiscal position is strong and is expected to remain so in the future.”
The county’s $60 million general obligation bonds are scheduled for public sale on Tuesday, Oct. 30, to fund improvements in schools, general government facilities, and water and sewer projects.