|SARASOTA COUNTY – Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings assigned “AA+” ratings on Sarasota County’s Water Infrastructure and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan, and affirmed the “AA+” rating for the currently outstanding utility system revenue and refunding bonds. The approximate $105 million WIFIA loan will fund portions of the enhancements to the Bee Ridge Water Reclamation Facility(BRWF) including conversion to Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT) process and expansion of daily treatment capacities. The upgrade to AWT will meet Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) requirements and standards by December 2025. The facility is also being expanded to increase treatment capacity from 12 million gallons per day to 18 million gallons per day. |
According to Sarasota County Administrator Jonathan Lewis, the WIFIA loan is a major funding source for upgrades to the Bee Ridge WRF and we are thrilled that the loan received “AA+” ratings.
“Our dedication to improving and maintaining water quality is a direct result of the county commission’s leadership, and their ongoing commitment to protecting our natural resources,” Lewis added. “The WIFIA loan is issued through the FDEP at very attractive interest rates to minimize the impact to the utility’s customer base. The loan is expected to close in December; however, the county will not begin drawing on the funding until a later date. The county will also be issuing revenue bonds later in 2022 to aid in the funding of this important project.”
Steve Botelho, Deputy County Administrator and Chief Financial Management Officer said, “Both rating agencies noted that the utility had not been significantly impacted by the recent coronavirus pandemic and that the county continues strong performance in servicing debts and managing financial assets with a solid management team.”
Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings reports determine the county’s perceived worthiness for borrowing, similar to an individual’s credit score. Higher bond ratings are typically accompanied by a lower interest rate. “AA+” indicates the county is doing a good job at paying off current debt and is likely to pay off future debts. The rating also indicates a lower risk to investors.
Fitch indicated that “management has a history of sound capital and financial planning … to exhibit extremely strong operating results.”
Sarasota County issues revenue bonds help to fund capital projects. To view complete analysis of the county’s utility system revenue bond ratings, visit Fitch Ratings or S&P Global Ratings.
|For more information, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000 or visit www.scgov.net. |
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