Fitch Ratings has assigned Wicomico County a AA bond rating as the county prepares to sell $19.8 million in general obligation consolidated public improvement and refunding bonds in a competitive bond sale on October 20. The article in the online publication, BusinessWire, identified the following key factors as rating drivers:
STRONG FINANCIAL PROFILE: Management’s conservative budgeting practices and recent revenue enhancements have resulted in historically positive operating results, ample reserve levels and strong liquidity. The county’s charter limitations have not hampered financial performance, and revenue and spending flexibility remains available.
SOCIOECONOMIC METRICS SOMEWHAT WEAK: Key economic metrics have shown improvement the past year but remain below state and national averages. Agriculture, higher education and healthcare provide a solid foundation for the economy.
FAVORABLE DEBT POSITION: Overall debt levels are low, amortization of principal is rapid, and county officials prudently analyze capital needs alongside debt affordability.
WELL MANAGED LONG-TERM BENEFIT LIABILITIES: The county’s pension system remains well funded and teachers’ pension costs funded through the state plan are affordable.
For more information, read the full article in BusinessWire.