October 9, 2020
Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412
ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Today, County Executive Calvin Ball announced that a total of $109,185,000 of Refunding bonds were sold this week. This year Howard County saw significant savings compared to previous years, with an overall 1.68% interest rate and savings of $8.6 million. These bonds are highly valued in the marketplace in large part due to the County’s AAA credit rating, which was affirmed by all three bond rating agencies last month. The refunded bonds will save County taxpayers $6.2 million in interest payments and generated $2.4 million in savings for the Water & Sewer Fund.
Additionally, Howard County was awarded Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) of the United States and Canada. The professional group recently honored the County for excellence in following generally accepted accounting principles in the “Comprehensive Annual Financial Report” (CAFR) submission for Fiscal Year 2019.
“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, generating more than $8 million in savings with this recent bond sale,” said Ball. “For more than four decades, our professional finance staff has upheld the highest accounting standards to earn this recognition from their peers. Howard County’s commitment to sound fiscal reporting and transparency for government spending remains second to none,” said Ball. “I want to thank everyone on from our Finance Department for their hard work, award-winning excellence, and continued efforts to make Howard County an innovative and efficient government.”
In April, Howard County was one of just 46 counties, among more than 3,000 in the U.S., to earn a AAA credit rating from all three bond ratings agencies. Howard County has maintained a AAA credit rating for 23 consecutive years. Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investor Services and Standard & Poor’s all noted Howard County’s strong economy and financial flexibility, and even amid the current COVID-19 pandemic and changing economic conditions, all three awarded a stable outlook with the ratings.
“The competitive refunding bond sale is a true testament to the sound fiscal policies that the county stands for, by leveraging all opportunities to find savings and allow the County to fund those critical needs,” said Rafiu Ighile, Director of the Department of Finance. “The Excellence in Financial Reporting award demonstrates Howard County Finance Department’s commitment to financial disclosure and transparency to the citizens and other stakeholders of the County. The professional staff of the department will continue to strive to achieve this award.”
The CAFR is an official, financial statement of record issued by the county each fiscal year. It includes statements of special revenue, capital projects, enterprise, internal service and trust, agency and general funds. The independently-audited report also provides information on long-term obligations and fixed assets, including infrastructure, and statistical charts on multi-year tax collection and assessable base figures. The CAFR offers transparency in government accounting for county taxpayers, elected officials, investors, vendors and consumers.
The Department of Finance collects and invests revenues in a fiscally responsible manner; provides financial services to taxpayers, businesses, agencies, residents and employees; and pays bills for the county.
GFOA represents more than 20,000 members as the premier association of public sector finance professionals providing support to state and local governments.