For Immediate Release
CLEARWATER, Fla. (July 6, 2020) –Tampa Bay Water’s bonds continue to be rated AA+ by Fitch Ratings, reflecting the utility’s strong revenue, low operating risk and healthy financial profile.
Tampa Bay Water issues debt in the form of bonds to build and maintain the pipelines, pump stations and water treatment plants that make up the Tampa Bay area’s regional water supply system. The utility’s bond ratings are supported by:
- The essential service that it provides to the region.
- The stability of its customers and the regional economy.
- The flexibility and sustainability of its water supply system.
- How well the agency’s management team controls finances.
“The AA+ rating is an independent confirmation of the utility’s financial strength and stability,” said Christina Sackett, Tampa Bay Water’s chief financial officer. “It allows Tampa Bay Water to issue bonds at lower interest rates that save ratepayers money as we build and maintain the infrastructure needed to meet the growing water demands of the region.”
Tampa Bay Water has the absolute and unequivocal obligation to meet the drinking water needs of its member governments and its bonds are secured by the net revenue of water sales to the members. A fully funded debt service reserve provides additional security for all outstanding bonds.
The strong credit rating of the member governments that are served by the water utility were a factor in the agency’s bond rating.
- Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa maintain a AAA/Stable rating from Fitch.
- Pasco County, Pinellas County, the City of New Port Richey and the City of St. Petersburg maintain a AA/Stable rating from Fitch.
The diversity and reliability of the water sources that Tampa Bay Water uses to produce clean, safe water for more than 2.5 million Tampa Bay area residents and businesses also factored into the ratings decision. The regional system blends groundwater, river water and desalinated seawater to balance economic and environmental sustainability while delivering high-quality drinking water.
The ratings agency also noted the leadership role of the utility’s board of directors and management team in maintaining a strong credit rating. Tampa Bay Water has consistently decreased its outstanding debt while maintaining healthy cash balances and providing a wholesale water rate to its members, which for the past nine years has equaled $2.56 per 1,000 gallons. Tampa Bay Water’s board of directors recently approved the agency’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget which maintains the wholesale rate for the tenth consecutive year.
About Tampa Bay Water
Tampa Bay Water is the largest wholesale water supplier in Florida, providing high-quality drinking water to its members, who in turn, supply water to more than 2.5 million residents of the Tampa Bay area. Tampa Bay Water member governments include the cities of New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa, and the counties of Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas. To learn more, visit tampabaywater.org.