ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Ken Ulman announces that Howard County has once again received a Triple-A credit rating from all three major bond rating agencies – Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor’s, and Moody’s Investor Services. Of the more than 3,000 counties in the country, fewer than 30 receive Triple-A rating from all three agencies.
“We have taken proactive steps to ensure Howard County stays on the right fiscal track, and while it is always an achievement to receive the highest possible rating from all three agencies, we never take it for granted,” said County Executive Ulman. “Even as communities and families across the state continue to bounce back from the economic downturn, it is our responsibility at the local level to manage responsibly, remain conservative in our spending and continue to find efficiencies throughout government.”
The key rating driver for Fitch Ratings was the “maintenance of sound reserves and financial flexibility despite revenue softening reflect the County’s strong financial management. The county is among the wealthiest in the nation, featuring a highly educated workforce employed throughout a deep and diverse economy led by the federal government and defense build-up at Fort Meade, a major driver of long-term regional growth. ”
Moody’s reported that the rating, “reflects the county’s sizeable economic base and wealthy demographic profile, a sound financial position supported by proactive management, comprehensive fiscal policies, satisfactory fund balance levels and an affordable debt burden.”
Standard & Poor’s noted “the deep and diverse local and regional economies, coupled with a highly educated workforce, contribute to, what we regard as, historically high wealth and income and low unemployment,” and said that the County’s financial management practices “are strong, well embedded and likely sustainable.”
“Howard County has long been well served by strong leadership, conservative fiscal management and internal systems and processes that have facilitated effective decision making,” said County Finance Director Stanley Milesky.
All three agencies examined Howard County’s diverse tax base, financial policies, debt burden and long-range plans for continued fiscal health, economic strengths and overall quality of life. These credit ratings determine the interest rate Howard County will pay on bonds. In preparation for the County’s upcoming $200 million bond sale, scheduled for October 25th, the County met with all three rating agencies at the end of September.
Once received, the full bond rating reports will be posted on the County’s website at