Standard & Poor’s Global Rating Services and Moody’s Investors Service this week reaffirmed Cecil County’s ‘AA+’ and ‘Aa2’ respective bond ratings. Both agencies cite “strong management, strong fiscal policies and practices, and maintenance of structurally balanced operations” as primary factors in determining the ratings.
“We work very hard to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars and those conservative practices have been identified and clearly recognized by the rating agencies,” said County Executive Alan McCarthy. “Our commitment to fiscal stability has enabled us to fund critical projects that improve the quality of life for our residents while securing the necessary reserves for unexpected occurrences.”
According to a press release:
In early October, County Executive Alan McCarthy, Director of Administration Al Wein, Director of Finance Lisa Saxton, Budget Manager Rebecca Anderson and Director of Economic Development Chris Moyer traveled to New York City to present the county’s fiscal report to the agencies.
S & P Global assigned its ‘AA+’ long-term rating to Cecil County’s series 2019 consolidated public improvement general obligation (GO) bonds and affirmed the ‘AA+’ rating on the County’s existing GO debt.
The S & P report noted that “given the ongoing, proactive and conservative fiscal practices, we do not believe the county’s budgetary performance score will weaken over the near term.”
Moody’s Investors Service also maintains their ‘Aa2’ rating to Cecil County’s general obligation on $47 million Consolidated Public Improvement Bonds of 2019.
Moody’s ‘Aa2’ rating reflects the county’s “moderately sized tax base with average demographics, stable reserve position and manageable pension liabilities” as rationale behind the score.
“Prior to being elected to county executive in 2016, Cecil County was going through a most difficult financial time. Unfavorable decisions compromised the financial stability of the county. I am very proud of the tremendous progress we have made by balancing the budget for three consecutive years without the use of unassigned fund balance and without the sustained need to increase taxes. Our team has created a sound formula for the county’s fiscal future. That is apparent in the favorable ratings we continue to receive from the rating agencies,” continued McCarthy.
Both Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global are registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and are accredited and nationally recognized statistical rating organizations. Bond credit ratings are used by investors to help determine the need and suitability of government bonds and the probability and feasibility of repayment by government agencies.
Cecil County issues bonds biennially and this issuance includes the funding of capital projects approved in the County’s Capital Improvement Program for FY19 and FY20 which include education, libraries, public safety, recreation and culture, highways, streets and bridges, and wastewater projects. Higher bond ratings ultimately save taxpayers millions of dollars over the life of bonds.
Read the full press release for more information.