Baltimore County again earns coveted AAA bond ratings

Balto. Co. earns AAA ratings for government bonds.

Baltimore County's government bonds again received the highest marks from the three major bond rating agencies.

Moody's Investor Service, Standards and Poor's Rating Services and Fitch Ratings all issued AAA ratings.

Baltimore County sold $200 million worth of bonds on Wednesday to finance government projects. The bonds carried an interest rate of 3 percent.

Fitch noted the county's "broad and diverse economy" with federal agencies, health care jobs, financial services institutions and colleges as a strength, as well as declining unemployment rates and a growing population.

The county government's reserve funds are strong and the county has a history of "conservative budgeting practices," Fitch wrote.

Moody's also noted that the county has a "sizable and diverse tax base that will continue to benefit from its strategic geographic location and institutional strengths." Moody's noted that the county's bond rating could go down if the county's reserve funds are used up, if the county borrows from its pension fund or if the federal government's ratings are downgraded.

Standard & Poor's said it doesn't plan to review the county's bond ratings for two years because it believes the county's finances are in solid shape.

In a statement, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said the county's good ratings means the county can borrow money at better interest rates for programs such as an ongoing school construction plan. He noted the county hasn't raised property tax or income tax rates in more than 20 years.

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