Moody’s Upgrades Hillsborough County Utility Development Bonds to Aaa

(PR NewsChannel) / June 21, 2016 / TAMPA, Fla. 

hc-logo-horizontal-RGBMoody’s Investors Service has given Hillsborough County’s water and wastewater bond issuance its highest possible rating, a move that will save the County tens of thousands of dollars in financing costs.

The Aaa rating for the $213 million in bonds also applies to the $147 million in currently issued bonds. The additional financing primarily will be used to expand the Northwest Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Only a small percentage of utility systems across the country have earned the Aaa rating, said Hillsborough County Chief Financial Administrator Bonnie Wise, who noted the County itself also has the same elite bond ranking.

“To have Moody’s also recognize that our utility system should be at this Aaa category is quite the accomplishment,’’ Wise said.

Investors closely monitor the credit ratings for governments, utilities, and other entities that issue bonds. Bond issuers with high credit ratings are able to pay lower interest rates than those with less stellar ratings, reducing the cost of financing and alleviating pressure to increase customers’ monthly rates.

Moody’s cited the County utility system’s relatively low debt levels, steady revenue streams, ample reserves, and healthy capacity to handle customers’ water and sewer needs as reasons for the top-level rating. “The system’s treatment capacity is ample and the regionalization of water supply continues to allow for a more rational approach to provide for future water needs in the Tampa Bay area,’’ Moody’s says in its report.

The County’s utility system has consistently operated conservatively, Wise said, keeping overhead low and directing money from customers’ bills into maintenance or construction of water and wastewater plants and equipment. Moody’s noted in its report that the utility uses less than 49 percent of the water system’s capacity of 113 million gallons per day and about 70 percent of the wastewater system’s capacity of about 57 million gallons per day.

“The utility provides a high level of service to its customers with a focus on sustainability and economy of operations,’’ said George Cassady, the County’s Public Utilities Director. “Providing an essential service that is recognized as a value to the customers is the goal of the operations.’’

The County water and wastewater system serves 480,000 residents, or about 36 percent of County residents. The utility’s service area roughly mirrors the boundaries of unincorporated Hillsborough County.

Hillsborough County News
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Communications & Digital Media
Phone: (813) 274-6735

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SOURCE:  Hillsborough County Florida

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