Baltimore County Now
Bond Sale Saves Taxpayers $20.2 Million
In its most recent bond sale on June 16, 2015, the County sold $170,895,000 of general obligation refunding bonds at a rate of 2.51 percent, creating a savings for County taxpayers of approximately $20.2 million over the next 16 years.
The bonds were rated triple-A by Moody’s Investor Service, Standard and Poor’s Rating Services, and Fitch Ratings. A triple-A rating is the highest possible rating for a municipality and allows the County to issue its bonds at the lowest possible interest rate. The County is one of only 38 counties nationwide that has been assigned this rating by all three rating agencies.
“Once again the County’s strong tradition of responsible fiscal and budgetary management has been validated by the rating agencies,” said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “This is a real tribute to our budgetary team, and is good news for County taxpayers.”
“I am proud to serve in a County that takes the management of taxpayer dollars seriously,” said 6th District Councilwoman and Council Chair Cathy Bevins. “That is what my constituents expect and what they deserve.”
Excerpts from the rating reports are as follows:
The stable outlook reflects our expectation that the county will continue to maintain a healthy financial position in the near-term that is supported by comprehensive fiscal policies and the maintenance of satisfactory fund balance levels.
Prudent management decisions and adherence to fiscal policies have helped maintain healthy reserve levels.
Standard and Poor’s
We view the county’s management as very strong with “strong” financial policies and practices under our Financial Management Assessment methodology, indicating financial practices are strong, well embedded, and likely sustainable.
Director, Office of Budget and Finance
Yesterday, the Baltimore County Council unanimously passed County Executive Kamenetz’s budget for Fiscal Year 15 with only minor changes. The County’s General Fund Operating Budget, subject to spending affordability, for FY 2015 is $1.75 billion, an increase of only 3.85% above the previous year. When including special funds, the total operating budget is $2.9 billion.
The budget holds the line on taxes and maintains our top bond rating.
No increase in property tax rate – 26th year in a row
No increase in income tax rate – 22nd year in a row
Maintains Triple AAA bond rating – one of only 38 counties in the nation
You may view details of the budget on the County web site. Here’s a quick overview of the total operating budget:
by Keith Dorsey
Director, Baltimore County Budget & Finance
In Baltimore County, when we talk about AAA, we’re not talking minor league baseball. We’re talking about the three AAA bond ratings Baltimore County just received (again) from the major rating agencies. Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch have each given the County their highest credit ratings.
Why should you care? Think of a bond rating as the County’s credit score. The higher your score/rating, the lower your interest rate when you borrow money. The County’s AAA ratings save us millions of dollars in interest payments when we borrow money for major capital expenses such as new and expanding schools and heavy equipment for public works and the fire department.
Fewer than 1% of the counties in the nation earn a Triple/Triple A bond rating, placing Baltimore County in elite company. We work hard to be sure the County manages taxpayer dollars wisely. Three AAA ratings are a sign that we’re doing a good job.
If you want to find out more about our AAA bond ratings, click here.