Fitch Ratings recently affirmed St. Mary’s County’s AA+ bond rating, deeming its fiscal outlook as stable. On July 26, the county will sell $25 million of consolidated public improvement tax-exempt bonds. Proceeds from the bonds will be used to pay for various capital projects.
According to a St. Mary’s County press release,
The last time the county sold bonds was in 2009. Last October the rating agency said it anticipated a moderate amount of bond issuance in FY2017.
Additionally, Fitch affirmed the rating on $32.6 million of outstanding general obligation bonds at AA+.
In its review Fitch says the county “has consistently maintained strong operating performance” and believes it will continue to “maintain reserves throughout the economic cycle solidly above the level consistent with a ‘aaa’ financial resilience.” Other key economic factors include a strong military presence, the regional airport’s designation as an Federal Aviation Administration unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) test site which has led to private investments in research and manufacturing, and the University of Maryland’s plan to build a UAS-focused research facility in 2018.
“This comes as great news in light of the continuing economic challenges facing government and the private sector,” said County Administrator Dr. Rebecca Bridgett.
Fitch also took note of the county’s healthy level of reserves, very low debt, maintenance of a separate reserve to preserve its bond rating at 6% of general fund expenditures and a rainy day fund. The county instituted a minimum unrestricted fund balance policy of 15% of general fund revenue in August 2015.
“This review is another indicator of the continued conservative stewardship of taxpayer dollars by county government and the Commissioners of St. Mary’s County,” said Commissioner President Randy Guy. “It reaffirms our continued commitment to strong fiscal management as we continue to serve the needs of our growing community.”
To read the full bond report, please visit St. Mary’s County online.