Carroll County Times

Carroll receives positive credit ratings

Carroll County received positive credit ratings, including one upgrade, from bond rating agencies after the county's annual bond review in New York.

Carroll received a AAA rating, the highest possible, from both Fitch Services and Standard and Poor's Rating Service. The county received an Aa1 rating, just one notch below AAA, from Moody's Investor Services.


The county announced its ratings in a news release Tuesday evening.

The AAA bond rating allows Carroll to pay the lowest interest rate on bonds, which fund capital projects in the county such as road or bridge repairs and facility upgrades to county owned buildings.


Carroll's next bond sale is set for Thursday and includes $26 million in bonds, according to county comptroller Rob Burk.

Standard & Poor's upgraded the county's credit rating from AA+ citing conservative budgeting and budget flexibility and liquidity, according to a statement from Standard & Poor's credit analyst Timothy Barrett.

"We also recognize the county's strong financial management practices and policies should help support, what we consider, its strong budgetary performance," Barrett said. "It is our opinion that overall debt will likely remain close to current levels due to the county's above-average amortization, providing additional rating stability. As such, we do not currently expect to change the rating again with the outlook's two year period."

Agencies cited Carroll's sound financial reserves, stable economy and low debt burden for the positive ratings.

Moody's Aa1 rating and stable outlook reflect the county's sound financial position, supported by comprehensive fiscal policies and satisfactory available fund balance, according to a statement from the rating agency.

"The rating also considers the rapid growth of the county's largely-residential tax base during recent years, which has moderated with the recession, the ongoing diversification of the local economy and an above average but affordable debt position."

Commissioners President Doug Howard said in a statement that Carroll is in a "strong financial position."

"I'm proud of the work Carroll has done to be fiscally responsible and grow our business base to ensure we can meet our future needs for public safety, infrastructure and education," he said.