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Howard earns AAA rating for 17th year

For the seventeenth year in a row, Howard County has earned a AAA bond rating from all of the "big three" ratings agencies.

Howard was one of only 40 counties out of 3,000 in the nation to receive the highest possible rating from Fitch Ratings, Moody's Investor Services and Standard & Poor's.

The rating allows the county to issue debt for capital projects at favorable interest rates.

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman said this year's rating "is especially significant.

"Through federal budget sequestration, and before that, a painful recession and challenges in the housing market, we have continued to make important investments and smart [decisions]," he said in a statement.

In reports analyzing the county's financial strength, all three agencies noted Howard's low unemployment numbers.

Fitch lauded the county's "prudent management and planning," Standard & Poor's said Howard had "deep and diverse local and regional economies coupled with a highly educated workforce," and Moody's noted the county's proximity to Fort Meade as a reason for its "sound financial position."

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