“Though Howard County and other jurisdictions are facing unprecedented financial challenges amid the COVID-19 response, we are continuing to practice sound fiscal management and smart stewardship of taxpayer dollars,” County Executive Calvin Ball said in a statement.
“Our team worked thoughtfully to execute a successful bond sale, and this allows us to invest in important community projects while respecting taxpayer dollars.”
According to the county, the bond sale covered the funding of $20 million in school construction projects, $13 million for Ellicott City improvements, $23 million for the watershed protection project and $26 million for the Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant.
“The volatility in the markets continues to test the best-laid plans. This year’s bond sale enables the county to replace the short-term borrowing program with long-term debt at a very favorable rate,” Howard County Finance Director Janet Irvin said in a statement.
“The savings achieved in the refunding also allows for a more affordable capital program.”
Karyl Leggio, professor of finance at Loyola University Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business and Management, said that when Howard County refinanced, they requested a longer-term bond, which is helpful in paying for longer-term projects.
The bond rating agencies then had to determine if the county was financially sound, a difficult feat amid the pandemic, according to Leggio.
“Once the bonds are issued [at the lower interest rate], they can’t be recalled unless Howard County chooses to pay them off early,” Leggio said. “In the long run, it saves the taxpayers money because of [the lower] interest payments.”