Rating Agencies Affirm County’s High Bond Ratings

Published Friday, September 12, 2014

The Charles County Commissioners are pleased to announce Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Services affirmed high ratings for the county's general obligation bonds. Moody's Investors Service assigned an "Aa1" rating, and Fitch Ratings assigned Charles County's general obligation bonds an "AAA" rating, the highest rating issued by the agency.

On Aug. 12, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Service announced Charles County’s rating on its generation obligation bonds raised from “AA+” to “AAA” with a stable outlook. “AAA” is the highest of Standard & Poor’s bond ratings.

Moody's Investors Service's Sept. 11 report stated, “The Aa1 rating reflects the county's satisfactory financial position, characterized by comprehensive fiscal policies and planning; satisfactory fund balance levels; and an affordable debt position. The rating also factors in the ongoing expansion of the county's economic and employment base, prospects for continued growth in the science and technology sector, and above-average socioeconomic factors.”

In a report dated Aug. 28, Fitch Ratings identified the county's healthy debt profile and its narrow yet stable and wealthy economy as key rating drivers. According to the report, Charles County’s economy “benefits from the presence of a naval research facility as well as a location proximate to the employment centers of Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia.”

Commissioner President Candice Quinn Kelly said, “We have worked so hard to maintain sound fiscal policies. It is gratifying the county’s bonds to continue to be so highly rated. Fitch and Moody’s affirmation of our bond ratings is yet again a demonstration of Charles County’s fiscal strength.”

“In the last eight years, Charles County has improved from not having a “AAA” rating, to earning “AAA” designations from two of the three agencies. This is testimony to the fact that we are mindful of every dollar entrusted to us by our citizens,” said Commissioner Vice President Reuben B. Collins, II (District 3). “Bond ratings of this caliber confirm the decisions made during the budget process were the right ones, and these ratings will translate into lower interest on county loans.”

Commissioner Ken Robinson (District 1) said, “This is additional validation that our policies are being recognized for their fiscal responsibly. Positive conclusions by the bond rating agencies are good news for our citizens."

“These ratings affirm our continued high standards and above-average fiscal policy. They are tangible recognition of tough budgetary decisions. For our citizens, this equates to savings,” said Commissioner Debra M. Davis, Esq. (District 2). “I’m glad I had the opportunity to represent our county before these agencies at the budget presentation in New York.”

“This is great news for Charles County. The reaffirmed approvals keep Charles County in a select group of counties that have achieved such high bond ratings,” said Commissioner Bobby Rucci (District 4). “Thank you to our excellent staff in the Department of Fiscal and Administrative Services for their hard work and solid recommendations.”

“The confirmation of our excellent bond ratings is a professional evaluation of many factors within Charles County, such as our economy, debt structure, financial condition, demographics, and management practices. The ratings continue to show the financial markets that our bonds are a good investment. The ratings should also help us receive lower interest rates on the long-term debt that we incur in order to fund our infrastructure needs throughout the county,” said David Eicholtz, director of the Department of Fiscal and Administrative Services.
During the week of July 16, county officials met with bond rating experts who reviewed the health and stability of the county based on budget management, external audits, financial management, and economic development. Bond proceeds will be used to fund various capital projects for the Board of Education, water and sewer system, stormwater system, and road maintenance.

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