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Charles County announces that all three major national bond rating agencies have reaffirmed the county’s AAA bond rating. Private independent rating services meet with county leaders and fiscal staff annually to evaluate the county’s ability to repay bonds’ principal and interest in a timely manner. Top bond ratings are earned by demonstrating the strength of the county’s financial position and economic stability. This allows the county to maintain low interest rates when repaying bonds.
“Having our AAA bond rating reaffirmed means that due to careful fiscal stewardship, the Board of Commissioners is delivering on its commitment to prudent financial management, even as we deal with unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic,” said Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq. “From an economic standpoint, taxpayers can have peace of mind that we are well positioned to withstand the impacts of this period of economic uncertainty.”
S&P Global Ratings noted that the rating is based on the county’s “very strong management, with strong financial policies and practices under our Financial Management Assessment methodology.” The report highlighted they “view the county’s recent hiring of a chief equity officer to work collaboratively with county leaders on ensuring that policy decisions, service delivery, and resource allocation to achieve diversity outcomes for the workers and residents of the county as unique when compared to the sector standard.” In addition, S&P Global Ratings sees “the county’s proactive and multipronged approach to climate change, focusing on both mitigation and adaptation, as indicative of the management team’s overall long-term planning strategy.”
Moody’s evaluation cites, “The county’s strong financial position is supported by long-term financial forecasting and has maintained years of stability.”
Fitch Ratings said they view “the county as having the highest level of gap closing capacity, due to its sound reserve levels and superior inherent budget flexibility. This flexibility is represented by its solid spending controls and unlimited revenue-raising authority.”
The county’s $52 million general obligation bonds are scheduled for public sale on Tuesday, Oct. 20, to fund improvements in schools, general government facilities, and water and sewer projects. The county is also pursuing the opportunity to refund up to $48 million of existing bonds in order to realize savings on future debt payments.