3 New York bond houses to rate Carroll's financial health

September 29, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

Carroll County commissioners will meet with representatives from three New York bond houses beginning today to convince them the county is financially healthy.

After their visit, the representatives will rate the county's bonds. Their decisions will determine the interest rate at which the county may borrow money to build schools and pay for other projects.

The rating is an annual event. In most years, the commissioners and county financial officers travel to New York City to meet with two bond houses.

This year, representatives of the bond houses are coming to Carroll, in part because of a renovation project at Carroll County General Hospital.

The project also is the reason a third bond house -- Fitch Investors Service -- is involved in the process this year, county Comptroller Eugene C. Curfman said.

Hospital officials believe Fitch is more familiar with rating bonds for hospital projects, he said.

The county plans to sell as much as $10.6 million in bonds for the project, which includes renovating the emergency room and one wing of the hospital.

Representatives from Fitch were to meet with county and hospital officials this morning and tour the area this afternoon, Mr. Curfman said.

Tomorrow, officials will meet with representatives from Moody's Investor Service Inc. and Standard & Poor's. They also will tour the county to see the mix of commercial, industrial and residential land uses, he said.

All meetings are closed to the public because county officials will review confidential economic development information with the bond houses, Mr. Curfman said.

"It's bare all souls. You hide nothing," he said.

Carroll has favorable ratings. Last year, Moody's gave the county an Aa rating, the bond house's second-highest grade. Standard & Poor's gave the county an AA-, its second-highest rating qualified with a minus sign.

The bond houses probably will issue their ratings in mid- to late-October, before a scheduled bond sale Oct. 25, Mr. Curfman said.

The county expects to borrow $15 million to $16 million this year.

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