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Financial services company Standard & Poor’s has indicated its confidence in the strength of the James City Service Authority’s financial status and future by upgrading its rating of the Authority’s water and sewer system revenue debt.
In an S&P Rating Report dated March 18, S&P credit analyst Edward McGlade wrote the upgrade from the “AA+” rating to a “AAA” rating “reflects the system’s extremely strong financial metrics, along with the area’s consistently strong economic indicators.”
“A ‘AAA’ rating for a utility of our size is unique, and is a result of sound strategic and financial management,” said JCSA General Manager Doug Powell in a statement.
The JCSA serves 21,246 water customers in 2015, an increase of 21 percent from 2006, and 22,955 sewer customers, an increase of 28 percent from 2006, according to the report.
The “AAA” rating, which is the highest possible rating, could allow the Authority to refinance or issue revenue bonds at a lower interest rate, according to a release from James City County.
Kevin Onizuk, chairman of the JCSA Board of Directors and the Jamestown representative on the Board of Supervisors, said the rating upgrade is “a testament to the sound fiscal management policies and practices” of the JCSA.
“This upgrade will bring a significant cost savings to our JCSA customers by reducing our borrowing costs,” Onizuk said in a statement. “I am thankful for and proud of our JCSA team and Board of Directors for their hard work on behalf of our James City County citizens.”
The rating announcement comes about a year after the Board of Supervisors approved a fixed quarterly service charge for water and sewer as part of its fiscal 2016 budget.
The Board discussed options for meeting future water demand and ways to finance system improvements and debt service coverage during its January retreat.
Additionally, S&P assigned a “AAA” rating to the JCSA Series 2016 water and sewer system revenue bonds.