Fitch Affirms Howard’s AAA Rating in Advance of Bond Sale

Howard County has received AAA credit rating from all three rating agencies.

Fitch Ratings has assigned ‘AAA’ ratings to the following Howard County general obligation (GO) bonds:

  • $49.52 million consolidated public improvement project bonds, 2022 series A
  • $18.17 million metropolitan district project bonds, 2022 series B

The Rating Outlook is Stable.

In addition, Fitch has affirmed the following ratings:

  • Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘AAA’
  • Outstanding GO bonds at ‘AAA’

“As we look towards recovery from the pandemic, this rating confirms Howard County’s fiscal responsibility,” said Howard County Executive Ball. “Ultimately, a triple A bond rating saves our residents money, and I especially appreciate the trust and investment of our taxpayers. I want to thank and acknowledge our entire finance and budget teams for their guidance throughout this process. Thank you also our EDA and Chambers of Commerce who work to keep our business community growing and vibrant. As we move forward with our annual budget process, our County’s fiscal practices remain healthy, flexible, and sound.”

The GO bonds are backed by the County’s full faith, credit pledge, and unlimited taxing power. The bonds will sell on a competitive basis on March 1, 2022. Proceeds of the bonds will reimburse the County for the cost of specified public improvements and to repay all or a portion of the County’s outstanding GO bond anticipation notes.

According to the Fitch Ratings Analysis:

Fitch expects Howard County to maintain a high level of financial flexibility throughout economic cycles, consistent with a long history of sound operating performance and healthy reserves. The county maintains superior inherent budget flexibility in the form of an unlimited legal ability to raise revenues and solid expenditure flexibility. The county’s financial profile also reflects strong revenue growth prospects from a growing property tax base. Fitch expects the county’s long-term liability burden to remain low.

Read the complete analysis for more information.