NEW YORK - (Business Wire) In the course of routine surveillance, Fitch Ratings has affirmed the 'AA' rating on St. Mary's County, Maryland's (the county) approximately $14.425 million in outstanding unlimited tax general obligations (GOs). Fitch also affirms the 'AA' rating on $4.2 million of outstanding St. Mary's County Building Authority Commission refunding bonds of 2003. The Rating Outlook is Stable.
The 'AA' rating reflects the county's stable economy rooted in the military and government and solid financial management, as reflected in the high reserve levels and moderately low debt levels. Credit concerns include the narrowly focused economy, which is dominated by Patuxent River Naval Air Station (PAX), the U.S. Navy's primary research, development and testing center for aviation. PAX employs nearly 20,000 civilian, military and contractor personnel and is the county's main economic driver. Somewhat offsetting the narrowly focused economy are various reserves totaling 24% of spending in 2007.
Fitch issued an exposure draft on July 31, 2008 proposing a recalibration of tax-supported and water/sewer revenue bond ratings which, if adopted, may result in an upward revision of this rating (see Fitch research 'Exposure Draft: Reassessment of the Municipal Ratings Framework' available at www.fitchratings.com).
Source: Fitch Ratings, New York