Thursday Webinar: Take Control Of Your County Investments

 

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Introducing the Public Funds Investor Guide, a free online resource for treasurers and financial officers of all experience levels to help fulfill their investment responsibilities. The Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) and Multi-Bank Securities, Inc. (MBS) will present a special, free webinar to unveil this new educational guide and review new features of eConnectDirect®, including a new online investment policy tool that can help make your investing decisions easier and more efficient. MACo members and any other Maryland local government investment officers who have previously attended an eConnectDirect webinar are urged to attend.

MACo is pleased to have endorsed eConnectDirect as an essential online investment solution designed to help Maryland county treasurers manage their investment needs. This proprietary platform, developed by MBS, provides treasurers access to thousands of fixed-income offerings and the ability to invest county funds in a more effective and transparent way.

MBS has enhanced this offering with its Multi-Bank Securities Institute, Public Funds Investor Guide and new features that will help you keep your portfolio in compliance with statutes and policies. We are delighted to host this 30-minute session to demonstrate how this unique resource can help you maximize your investment portfolio at no cost.*

 

Who should attend the webinar to learn more about this free tool? This webinar is open to any local government Treasurers and Officers with investment responsibility including:

Finance Directors
Treasurers
Investment Officers
Comptrollers
Deputy Treasurers & Staff
Investment Committee Members

Click the date below to register!

Thursday, August 25, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. EDT

For a link to MACo’s endorsement of eConnectDirect, click here.

 

About MBS
MBS is an independent, fixed-income securities broker-dealer that has been serving institutional investors across the U.S. for more than 28 years. The company’s customers include counties, municipalities, credit unions, banks, money managers and other institutional investors. MBS also underwrites U.S. agency bonds and distributes FDIC-insured CDs for thousands of community and national banks. Member of FINRA & SIPC; MSRB Registered.
*There may be costs associated with other products/services offered by MBS.

LGIT Hits 100% Retention 6 Years In A Row

For the 6th consecutive year, all members of the Local Government Insurance Trust  (LGIT) have renewed their property & liability coverage with the Trust.  LGIT Executive Director Tim Ailsworth attributes the success in retention to loyal members, attentive staff and products customized to benefit Maryland local governments.

LGIT is a non-profit Trust created, owned and governed by Maryland local governments and endorsed by MACo to provide various liability and property insurance and health benefits coverage at stable and competitive rates.

LGIT is a MACo Gold Corporate Partner and sponsor of the 2016 MACo Summer Conference, this August 17-20 in Ocean City, MD. Thanks, LGIT!

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

 

800 Attend Port Covington TIF Hearing; Chair Affirms No Vote Anytime Soon

Last night’s Baltimore City Council hearing on Sagamore Development’s controversial tax increment financing (TIF) request for Port Covington attracted 800 concerned attendees and lasted four hours before the Taxation, Finance and Economic Development Committee recessed. The hearing had to be relocated to the War Memorial Building’s large auditorium to accommodate the large crowds. Affirmed Committee Chair Carl Stokes,

We are not going to vote tonight. We are not going to vote next week.

Public testimony covered topics such as affordable housing, jobs, labor negotiations and profit sharing. The Baltimore Business Journal reports,

Much of the testimony centered on requests to strengthen the legislation to include citywide community benefits and job guarantees as well as a better understanding of the complex and lengthy 535-page TIF application.

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank owns Sagamore Development, which is requesting the $660 million TIF to support its Port Covington development.  The 266-acre, $5.5 billion redevelopment in South Baltimore will hold Under Armour’s new corporate headquarters. Plans include:

  • 5.5 million square feet of office space,
  • about 14,000 residential units,
  • retail space,
  • two hotels,
  • 40 acres of parks,
  • 17 new streets,
  • an internal trolley system, and
  • Maryland Transit Administration Light Rail extension.

Sagamore Development Vice President Caroline Paff reported that the project will spur 42,000 jobs over 25 years and then install 25,000 permanent jobs at the site. Paff testified,

Under Armour has aggressive growth plans. And it’s either grow here or grow somewhere else. All of us want that growth right here in Baltimore City … We are asking for $535 million to help leverage a $5.5 billion deal — without anything else, that’s a good deal.

Chair Stokes announced that the hearing will resume on August 3 at 5 pm.

Calvert County Receives Third AAA Credit Rating

Three independent credit rating agencies, Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services and Moody’s Investors Services, have assigned Calvert County their highest AAA ratings due to the county’s consistently sound financial operations, strong reserves, conservative fiscal policies and growing economy. This is the first time in the county’s history that all three credit ratings agencies have assigned AAA ratings. MACo Board Member and Calvert County Board of County Commissioners President Evan Slaughenhoupt stated,

This outstanding news demonstrates that Calvert County remains on the right fiscal track. Achieving a triple A rating is not easy. The credit rating agencies are tough and consider numerous factors before assigning a rating. A strong credit rating reduces financing costs for our bond issues and that means significant savings to county taxpayers.

County Administrator Terry Shannon said,

I am extremely proud of this prestigious achievement for Calvert County; an achievement that our employees and citizens share. So many people play a role in maintaining our fiscal health and I am so very proud of the excellent work this credit rating represents.

More information is available on Calvert County’s website.

City, County Leaders on Local Infrastructure Investment: “We Should Be Doing More”

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Former Secretary of Transportation LaHood: “we’re selling ourselves short.”

The National League of Cities (NLC) announced that former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and local government leaders from across the nation, including National Association of Counties President Commissioner Sallie Clark, advocated for local government infrastructure funding at a Republican National Convention policy briefing on July 19, 2016. Secretary LaHood opened the session by arguing that the federal government should raise the gas tax to generate more money for infrastructure investment.

NLC CEO and Executive Director Clarence Anthony stressed that local government leaders highly prioritize preserving tax-exemption for municipal bonds, which cuts infrastructure investment costs. He stated,

“We are going to both the Republican and Democratic conventions” because local governments “need to be partners with the next president of the United States, whoever that will be. We need the candidates to understand that we must make infrastructure a priority for America.”

 

Baltimore County Earns Triple-A Bond Rating

Fitch Ratings, a global leader in research and credit ratings, has assigned a AAA rating to the 2016 series of Baltimore County’s taxable general obligation bonds. The rating agency also affirmed the rating of several county bonds.

According to an article from Business Wire:

The bonds, which are expected to sell through negotiation on July 20th, are being issued to partially fund the unfunded present or liability of the County under the portion of the Employees’ Retirement System of Baltimore County closed to new membership effective as of July 1, 2007. The proceeds of the bonds are expected to be used to purchase investments for the benefit of the pension plan.

Read the full article for more information.

Calvert Earns Three AAA Bond Ratings

The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) recently announced that the county has received its highest AAA bond ratings in history from all three independent credit rating agencies.

According to the county’s press release,

Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services and Moody’s Investors Services, have assigned Calvert County their highest AAA ratings due to the county’s consistently sound financial operations, strong reserves, conservative fiscal policies and growing economy.

Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s reaffirmed their highest AAA ratings. Moody’s previous rating of Aa1 with a positive outlook has moved to Aaa stable. Moody’s Aaa rating reflects the county’s sound financial position, which is strengthened by formal policies and conservative management, manageable debt and pension liabilities, a moderately-sized tax base with strong demographics and anticipated commercial tax base growth, noting that 10 of the largest commercial taxpayers account for 17.8 percent of 2015 assessed values. The rating also reflects the expectation that the county’s fiscal position will remain healthy and the impact of the Dominion Cove Point liquefaction project will provide additional new revenues.

Commission Urges Procurement Changes to Boost Local Business Participation

On July 1, the One Maryland Blue Ribbon Commission released its report, “Reforming State Procurement For Maryland Businesses,” to the Governor and Maryland General Assembly. The Commission was created by the Maryland General Assembly in 2015 to improve local business participation in state procurement. The 22-member Commission included State and local government officials, procurement professionals, and business representatives from across the state.

After evaluating data derived from a survey of local businesses, a survey of procurement professionals, meeting discussions and procurement presentations, the Commission made the following recommendations:

  1. Improve the functionality of the State’s eProcurement system, eMaryland Marketplace, either by overhauling it or replacing it. Notably, it also suggests that all counties and state government entities be required to use the same revamped eProcurement system, for “uniformity, data integration and transparency.”
  2. Eliminate prohibitive business preferences within the State’s procurement system, and only use vendor qualifications when necessary.
  3. Simply the complexity of the State’s procurement processes; consolidate and standardize requirements.
  4. Improve the quality of bid documents.
  5. Unbundle large state contracts to increase competition for small businesses.
  6. Provide more human and technical resources for procurement professionals.
  7. Improve prompt payment requirements within State contracting.
  8. Allow offerors an opportunity to correct MBE submittal errors and still be deemed complete and responsive.

The report cites heavily from the Department of Legislative Services’ “Review of Maryland’s Procurement Policies and Structures” (November 2014).

Procurement commission followers should not confuse the One Maryland Blue Ribbon Commission with Governor Larry Hogan’s Commission to Modernize State Procurement, a bipartisan commission established on February 10, 2016 by Executive Order to review of Maryland’s procurement code and regulations. That commission is due to submit its final report by December 31, 2016.

 

Multi-Bank Securities, Inc. Offers New Educational Website for Public Sector Investors

Multi-Bank Securities, Inc. has recently launched a new educational website as a source for its institutional and public sector investors. The new website focuses on educating and supporting investment professionals of all experience and skill level, employing easy to read, online reference materials.

According to Multi-Bank Securities, Inc. press release,

The site’s features enable visitors to become acquainted with a variety of topics and resources which will help support their investing needs and goals. The Institute’s featured topic is the Public Funds Investor Guide, which can be used by public treasurers, investment officers, finance officers, directors and investment committee members. The guide offers in depth information about policies, processes and other useful information to help public funds investors make well-informed investment decisions.

“We wanted to create a useful and relevant tool to keep our investors well-educated. We are excited about our website launch and the robust information it provides to investors,” said David Maccagnone, Chairman and CEO of Multi-Bank Securities, Inc.

There is no cost associated with the website, but visitors will need to register online to use the site.

Visitors are encouraged to explore the website at http://institute.mbssecurities.com.

Learn how to Manage Your County’s Investments Directly with MACo-Endorsed Desktop Tool from Multi-Bank Securities, Inc.

MD Local Governments: Drive Down Your Electricity Costs with DGS

dgs logoCalling all Maryland counties, municipalities, non-profits and school systems: Take advantage of the State’s volume-based electricity supplier contracts to achieve favorable electric supply rates. You can minimize costs with the Department of General Services (DGS).

New electricity prices go into effect June of 2017. To take advantage of this opportunity you must sign up by September 15, 2016.

Find out more information here: