February 28, 2017
The Talbot County Council is pleased to announce that Fitch Ratings, Inc. has reaffirmed the “AAA” bond rating for Talbot County with a stable outlook. The “AAA” rating is the highest bond rating available.
Jennifer Williams, President, Talbot County Council stated, “Both the current and previous County Councils have been conservative in their fiscal management and have made a concerted effort to build up the fund balance and transfer funds to the Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) Trust in an effort to meet its obligations to retirees. As noted in the press release from Fitch Ratings, the County’s spending obligations are primarily associated with schools and public safety. ”
In the press release from Fitch Ratings it was noted that “The ‘AAA’ rating reflects the County’s very low long-term liability burden and associated fixed carrying costs that are a minimal percent of spending. The rating also reflects healthy reserves that provide exceptionally strong gap-closing capacity to address an economic downturn given the County’s high level of budget flexibility.”
The County continues to operate under a revenue tax cap, maintains the lowest property tax rate in the State and has the second lowest income tax rate in the State at 2.4% of Maryland Taxable Income. In their rating assessment, Fitch noted that “Fitch expects general fund revenues, primarily derived from property and local income taxes, to continue to increase slowly, along with inflation. The income tax base is concentrated in an unusual level of high income earners….Property tax is the largest revenue category at just under half of general fund revenues, which is followed by the local income tax at about a third of revenues. Other local taxes such as the recordation and accommodations taxes account for an additional 15% of revenues.”
The Talbot County Council has started their FY18 budget review process with budget presentations scheduled for Wednesday, March 1 and Thursday, March 2. The FY18 budget ordinance is scheduled for introduction on Tuesday, April 11th with public hearings scheduled for Tuesday, May 2nd and final adoption on Tuesday, May 23rd.
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