Howard Co. sells $64 million worth of bonds during an online auction


Howard County sold $64 million in bonds yesterday in an online auction that attracted 11 bidders.

Ferris Baker Watts Inc. was the winning bidder at 3.912 percent interest for $60 million worth of the bonds intended for general county use. The $4 million portion was for metropolitan district utility bonds, and Wachovia Bank won that bid with a 4.306 percent interest rate.

"We're extremely pleased," said Sharon Greisz, county finance director, who added that the number of bidders was double the norm.

"It just indicates the demand," said Raymond S. Wacks, county budget director.

Greisz said the county's high AAA bond rating makes bonds attractive for large institutional investors because they carry a very low risk. The rating also gets the county the lowest possible interest rate, saving money over the 20-year life of general-use bonds and the 30-year life of utility bonds.

Howard County is carrying $440 million in general obligation debt.

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