County Earns Highest Bond Ratings from All Three Major Rating Agencies

Published Friday, November 4, 2016

For the first time in its history, Charles County has achieved the distinction of earning a triple-A bond rating – the highest credit rating possible – from the nation’s top bond rating agencies (Fitch Ratings, S&P Global Ratings, and Moody’s Investor’s Service). In separate announcements, Fitch and S&P affirmed the county’s previously earned “AAA” ratings. This is the result of bond rating experts who reviewing the health and stability of the county based on budget management, external audits, financial management, and economic development. With these affirmations, Charles County is one of only eight out of 24 counties in Maryland to carry three triple-A bond ratings. 

Commissioner President Peter F. Murphy said, “This accomplishment is no small feat. It is a testament to the vibrancy and overall health of our economy, and is the result of careful stewardship of taxpayer dollars. I am excited our residents will benefit from savings in the form of lower interest rates, which means important community projects such as capital projects for the Board of Education, water and sewer systems, stormwater systems, and road maintenance will cost less in the long-term.”

In its rating report, S&P highlighted strong budget management and financial flexibility as key credit characteristics for the county. S&P described the county economy as strong and viewed the county’s financial practices as “well embedded and likely sustainable.”

Fitch noted in its report several key drivers for the outstanding “AAA” rating, including “the county’s strong growth prospects, low long-term liability burden, healthy reserves, and broad budgetary tools.” Additionally, Fitch cited other positive factors such as a sufficient reserve fund and a “high level of financial resilience.”  

“We could not be more pleased with the outcome of our annual bond trip. Each of the rating agencies conducted a thorough and rigorous review of our finances. Collectively, their ratings reflect a solid vote of confidence in how the county budget and resources are being managed,” said County Administrator Michael D. Mallinoff, Esq., ICMA-CM. 

Charles County maintained a stable financial rating outlook from all three agencies, which is a reflection of the county’s continued tax base growth and conservative fiscal management. A stable outlook is an indicator, which predicts Charles County will continue to maintain a solid financial position and strong economic and financial health. 

David M. Eicholtz, director of the Department of Fiscal and Administrative Services, said, “A triple-A bond rating is very difficult to earn. It has taken Charles County many decades to achieve this highest rating from all three bond rating agencies. Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch do not hand these ratings out lightly without having confidence in their opinion of a jurisdiction. It confirms the county’s good financial health, but even more so, our future outlook.”

A bond sale is scheduled for Nov. 15.  

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