Today marks St. Mary’s scheduled sale of $14.8 million in Public Improvement Refunding Bonds, Series 2017 – just as Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the County’s rating to Aa1. The ratings service has also upgraded the county’s $83.6 million of general obligation (GO) outstanding debt from Aa2 to Aa1.
The upgrade comes as the county prepares to refund the 2009B Bonds original issue of $16.9 million. Refunding is recommended when savings rise above 2 percent. Currently, savings are estimated to be more than $1.3 million. Principal and interest payments on the new issue will begin in fiscal 2021 and will reflect an average annual savings to the county’s budget of $136,000. Payoff of the new issue will be in fiscal 2030.
The Moody’s report credits the county’s formal fiscal policies, low debt and pension burdens as reasons for the upgrade. The report notes that the county’s economy is likely to continue its growth due to a strong technology sector, anchored by NAS Patuxent River. The agency concludes “the county’s economy is well diversified, including tourism, healthcare, higher education and advanced manufacturing.”
“This is fantastic news for St. Mary’s County,” said Commissioner President Randy Guy. “We remain confident that the financial course we set in 2014 continues to be the right one and will only continue to improve further in upcoming years.”