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Keyword: bond rating

Citing Strong Fiscal Responsibility, All Three Major Ratings Agencies Affirmed Baltimore County’s Creditworthiness Despite Global Economic Challenges

Amid the unparalleled economic interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Baltimore County today announced it has maintained triple-A bond ratings from all three major rating agencies, 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 highest rating from all three agencies.

"Our ability to maintain top-tier financial ratings while we navigate this global pandemic speaks to our responsible fiscal management and resilient local economy,” Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said. “We have taken prudent steps to put Baltimore County on stronger fiscal footing, but we know more difficult decisions remain ahead in order to maintain our focus on meeting the basic needs and goals for our communities—without risking the County’s long-term fiscal health.”

In their reports, the rating agencies noted Baltimore County’s very strong management and diverse tax base. The ratings also incorporate financial policies and revenue enhancements that this Administration’s new management team is implementing.

Olszewski submitted his second budget on April 15, which was approved in bipartisan fashion by the County Council on May 29. The Administration’s FY21 budget made historic cuts while maintaining key investments in public education, public safety, and the County workforce, while also taking steps to support the County’s investment in the trust fund which supports retiree health care benefits—also known as Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB).


All Three Major Ratings Agencies Affirmed Baltimore County’s Creditworthiness, Acknowledged Efforts to Put Baltimore County on Stronger Fiscal Footing

Baltimore County has retained its triple-A bond ratings from all three major rating agencies, allowing the County to continue issuing bonds at the lowest possible interest rate—saving millions of dollars for County taxpayers.

Moody’s Investor Service, Fitch Ratings, and S&P Global Ratings have each affirmed the County’s triple-A rating, making Baltimore County one of only 49 counties nationwide to receive the highest rating from all three agencies.

“Our strong, diverse, and growing economy—as well as our efforts to address our County’s fiscal challenges head-on—has ensured Baltimore County has maintained the top-tier rating,” Olszewski said. “While we’ve taken critical steps to place Baltimore County on stronger fiscal footing, we must and will continue to balance future investments in our priorities and obligations, allowing us to make the investments needed without risking our county’s long-term fiscal health.”

In their reports, the rating agencies noted Baltimore County’s very strong economy, very strong management and diverse tax base. The ratings also incorporate the new financial policies and revenue enhancements that the County’s new administration team is implementing.

The Administration’s first budget closed an $81 million deficit and trimmed $35 million in unnecessary spending while making record investments in public education and taking steps to increase the County’s investment in the trust fund, which supports retiree health care benefits also known as Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB).

The County is currently holding the second annual budget town hall series to hear from residents about their thoughts and concerns on how the county should prioritize future spending. Olszewski will submit his second budget on April 15, 2020.


All Three Wall Street Bond Rating Agencies Award the Highest Possible Triple-A Ratings

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced today that Baltimore County saved $5.9 million by refunding $98.6 million in County bonds on November 2 and has once again earned the highest possible bond ratings from all three major rating agencies, confirming that Baltimore County is one of the best-managed municipalities in the United States. The desirable triple-A rating was awarded by Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investor Service and Standard and Poor’s Rating Services. This triple-triple-A rating allows the County to issue its bonds at the lowest possible interest rate, saving taxpayers millions of dollars in reduced expenses.

Baltimore County is one of only 46 counties nationwide that holds triple-A ratings from all three bond rating agencies.

“Triple-A bond ratings are like a high credit score, ultimately saving Baltimore County citizens millions of dollars in interest when we borrow money through the sale of bonds to pay for things like school construction and parks and infrastructure maintenance,” said Kamenetz. “We have achieved this important distinction through strong fiscal management that means we invest in strong communities, but in a responsible way with no tax rate increases in more than two decades.”

“These bond ratings are critically important, and it is truly impressive that the County has maintained the triple-triple-A rating while investing in a historic upgrade of our schools,” said County Council Chair Tom Quirk.

Below are excerpts from each bond agency’s report:

Fitch Ratings:

The county's 'AAA' IDR reflects its broad and diverse economy, low long-term liability burden, and strong control over revenues. The county has exceptionally strong gap closing capacity through a combination of budget controls and reserve funding. Fitch expects revenue growth to be solid.

Moody’s Investor Service:

The stable outlook reflects the likelihood that the county’s fiscal position will remain sound despite annual appropriations for capital needs. While the county is projecting its fourth consecutive decrease in reserves, these draws have been because of capital-related expenditures. The outlook also incorporates the county’s sizable and growing tax base, which will continue to benefit from its strategic location and institutional strengths.

Standard and Poor’s Rating Service:

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.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017