Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Baltimore County Retains Triple AAA Bond Ratings

Amid the unparalleled economic interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Baltimore County today announced that the three major bond rating agencies reaffirmed the County’s AAA bond rating, allowing the County to continue issuing bonds at the lowest possible interest rate—saving millions of dollars for County taxpayers. This week Moody’s Investor Service, Fitch Ratings, and S&P Global Ratings each reaffirmed the County’s triple-A rating, making Baltimore County one of only 49 counties nationwide to receive the…

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Counties: Hold Off On BPW Cuts, Until Things Are Clearer

A letter from multiple county leaders, including MACo President Sharon Green Middleton, calls for the state Board of Public Works to defer action on a number of budget cuts affecting counties - as the weeks ahead are likely to reveal more clarity on the state and county fiscal plight. With word that the Board of Public Works plans to consider a broad wave of budget cuts, including a number affecting county services, county leaders have…

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Maryland Nears Milestone in 2020 Census Count

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Maryland currently has a 65.7% self response rate. As the state nears a two-thirds completion rate, Maryland Census reminds everyone that all residents need to be counted. https://twitter.com/MDCensus2020/status/1275433813435396098 Accurate counts for the census equate to improved funding for the state and local communities. Hundreds of billions of dollars of federal funding are allocated for public services like hospitals and fire departments, and programs like school lunches. Census…

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Montgomery Establishes Local Business Preference for County Contracts

Yesterday, the Montgomery County Council approved a bill from County Executive Marc Elrich that would establish a preference for local businesses in the County procurement process. The bill is an effort to economic growth in the county. It creates a program that would provide a 10 percent price preference in evaluating bids from local businesses on a County contract. Local businesses will be certified eligible for the program by the Office of Procurement if their…

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Prince George’s Maintains Three AAA Bond Ratings

Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks today announced that the three major bond rating agencies affirmed the County’s AAA bond rating. The ratings from Fitch, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s keep borrowing costs low for capital projects and reflect the County’s sound fiscal policies, prudent long-range planning, and economic stability. https://twitter.com/CEXAlsobrooks/status/1273015236531027969 According to County Executive Alsobrooks: Despite the economic challenges we are experiencing, including a loss of $130 million in revenue heading into Fiscal Year…

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June 24 Webinar: Gov’t Liquidity Tools for COVID Times and After

NACo Webinar: Maximizing Value on Every Public Dollar During & After COVID-19 Description: Public entities are trying to determine how to provide services to their communities amidst the economic uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.  In the wake of impeding revenue decreases and rising emergency response costs, counties will face funding challenges and must find new ways to stretch reduced tax receipts. The National Association of Counties, NACo Financial Services Corporation, and Three + One will…

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Fed Holds Rates Near Zero, Delivers Grim Economic Outlook

Federal Reserve projects the U.S. economy will shrink by 6.5% in 2020 and the unemployment rate will be 9.3% at year’s end. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced that it will hold its benchmark interest rate near zero through 2022 to help the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The central bank also projected that the U.S. economy will contract by 6.5 percent this year, a somber outlook that could even prove optimistic if there…

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Talbot Secures High Bond Ratings from Fitch, Moody’s

Talbot County earned high bond ratings from both Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Services in advance of selling bonds to finance its Easton Elementary School construction project. Moody’s assigned an Aa2 general obligation limited tax rating to the County's $22.7 million Public Improvement Bonds, Series 2020. The rating reflects the County's sizeable tax base, average income levels, healthy financial position, and low debt burden. Fitch Ratings assigned a rating of AAA to Talbot County reflecting…

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Strategies for Balancing the Budget

Counties are making significant financial investments to address immediate public health and safety needs. At the same time, counties are experiencing massive and unprecedented declines in revenue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The combined effect of these changes will likely undermine county revenue structures and support for education, public safety, roadway maintenance, and other essential services. As county governments begin to address substantial revenue shortfalls and significant gaps in their budgets, commissioners, executives,…

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Fed Again Expands Lending Program for State and Local Governments

The Federal Reserve will expand a $500 billion lending program designed to help state and local governments better manage cash flow stresses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Until now, the Municipal Liquidity Facility (MLF) -- which will purchase up to $500 billion of short term notes -- was open to states, as well as counties with at least 500,000 residents and cities with at least 250,000.  Although eligible state-level issuers may use the proceeds to…

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