CENTREVILLE – This time last year Queen Anne’s County was celebrating the fact that, for the first time ever the New York bond rating agency FitchRatings, bestowed the highest possible AAA rating for Queen Anne’s County. Now Standard and Poor’s has bestowed the coveted AAA rating for the county as well.
Just as a homeowner whose credit score has improved and therefore is offered a lower interest rate by the banks, the higher credit rating and lower interest rate will give Queen Anne’s County a much better interest rate, saving millions of dollars over the life of the bonds.
Recently, County Commissioners Stephen Wilson, Robert Buckey, County Administrator Gregg Todd and Finance Director Jon Seeman went to New York City’s financial district to make the county’s case for better ratings to the top ratings agencies.
“We went to New York a week ago and met with three groups of Bond Analysts, representing Moody's, S&P, and Fitch. We now have AAA bond ratings from two of them. Two years ago, none of them rated Queen Anne's County a AAA. Better financial circumstances and strong presentation have turned the tide. As the debt rolls over, this will save the county many dollars. We currently have both the fourth lowest property tax in the state, and one of the highest levels of service. We are doing our utmost to keep things going in this direction.
The third rating agency, Moody’s, upgraded us from Aa2 to Aa1, which is just one step below AAA, said Finance Director Jon Seeman.
County Commissioner Jack Wilson said, “This is great news for the County taxpayers as it will reduce the debt service on existing county debt and allow for a lower lending rate in the future for any Capital needs that may arise.. I am very happy to be a part of a Commission that was able to achieve this stature for the first time in County history. We will continue to exercise fiscal policy that will maintain this rating.”
Commissioner Mark Anderson said: "The efforts of the QAC Commissioners, who have collectively employed a consistent and conservative fiscal policy over three plus years, has been rewarded by two of the three major bond agencies. The S&P AAA rating follows the same rating from Fitch (two years in a row) will save many thousands of dollars because our county will be viewed as the safest investment for bond purchasers. These interest savings will take pressure off the operating budget and the necessity to raise real property taxes."
“The bond ratings have a significant positive impact on the cost of borrowing money,” said Commissioner Robert C. Buckey. “S&P based their decision on the county’s “very strong economic profile, and strong budgetary flexibility. I would like to thank all the Department Heads for all their hard work in this process, and I would like to thank the Commissioners for all their efforts and policy decisions that made this happen. "This was a team win. The AAA ratings will help lower the cost of borrowing for Queen Anne's County’s government in the future and that is great news for the county, and the taxpayers and residents.”