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Harford sells $40 million in annual bond sale, securing record low interest rates

More than 70 capital projects will be funded after Harford County sold $40 million worth of bonds at 2% interest, a historically low interest rate, the county announced Tuesday.

The proceeds of this year’s sale will go toward school facilities, roads, watershed restorations, and water and sewer projects, the county said in a news statement. The county consolidated public improvement bonds were sold to to winning bidder Robert .W. Baird & Co., a Wisconsin-based financial firm.

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Harford is one of the few counties — approximately 2% — that have a AAA credit rating from the three major bond-rating agencies: Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, according to the statement. That dependable credit contributes to a lower interest rate, allowing the county to lower the cost of borrowing money

“Today’s bond sale at historically low interest rates will save taxpayers’ money for years to come,” County Executive Barry Glassman said in a statement. “These rates also show that the financial markets have faith in Harford County as a sound investment over the long term and confirm that our strong fiscal management has served the county well, especially in these uncertain times.”

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The county also made a savings of $11.6 million over the next 10 years by refunding previously issued bonds at a lower interest rate. The county refunded $103 million of existing bonds — which formerly carried a 3.5% interest rate — at a rate of 1.36% with Citibank, the county announced. That, too, was a record for the county, Glassman said in an address to the Harford County Council.

The county council unanimously approved resolutions for both sets of bonds Tuesday afternoon. Councilman Tony Giangiordano was absent for the vote.

The interest rates the county secured were not anticipated, county treasurer Robert Sandlass told the council. The county expected a 3% rate, which is more in line with what the county has received in recent years.

“I have not seen those numbers even around some of the other jurisdictions in Maryland,” Sandlass said.

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Some of the projects the county intends to pursue with that money is storm-water mediation projects, the new Havre de Grace Middle/High School, several road projects, athletic field improvements at county high schools and more, Sandlass said.

The county received over six bids on each series of bonds, according to its financial advisers.

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