S&P Affirms the county’s AA+ rating general economic outlook deemed stable

Leonardtown, MD – Standard and Poor’s (S&P) Global Ratings has assigned a AA+ long-term rating to $25 million in St. Mary’s County general obligation (GO) improvement bonds, series 2016. The ratings firm also affirmed its AA+ rating on previously issued GO bonds and deemed the county’s economic outlook is stable.

S&P’s rationale for the rating include:

  • A strong county economy with per capita market value of $108,384. The agency noted the  county’s market value grew by 1.3% over the past year to $12 billion in 2016.
  •  Very strong management, including strong financial policies and practices under the agency’s Financial Management Assessment methodology. This is indicative of strong financial policies which are well embedded and likely sustainable.
  • The county’s very strong budgetary flexibility with an FY15 available fund balance of 26 percent of operating expenditures, or $54.1 million. This also includes $44.6 million (21.4% of expenditures) in the general fund and $9.5 million (4.5% of expenditures) which is outside the general fund.
  • Very strong liquidity with total available cash at 28.1% of total governmental fund expenditure and 6.7 times governmental debt service in 2015.
  • Very strong debt and contingent liability profile with total governmental fund debt service at 4.2% of total fund expenditures. Net direct debt of 44.2% of total fund revenue. 

S&P’s overall economic outlook for the county is stable. The agency says this is due to the large and diverse property tax base. S&P predicts this will likely continue due to NAS Pax River’s presence in St. Mary’s County.

“This is very good news for St. Mary’s County as we continue to work through our economic challenges,” said Commissioner President Randy Guy. “We look forward to continuing our economic policies which hopefully will lead to a AAA rating in the very near future.”

The S&P Rating follows a AA+ rating from Fitch Ratings and a Aa2 rating from Moody’s in June. 

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