Sarah Fay Campbell / The Newnan Times-Herald
Coweta Water and Sewerage Authority CEO Jay Boren at the table talks about the proposed 2021 bond issue. Bond consultant Trae Monroe is standing.
With interest rates at near record highs, the Coweta County Water and Sewerage Authority will be able to refinance all of its existing bonds into a new 2021 bond issue.
The bond package will repay – or âundoâ – all existing bond issues and include $ 17 million in financing for new projects.
The interest rate will be even lower thanks to the bond rating recently improved by the authority. The bond rating – essentially the authority’s credit rating – has gone from AA to AA +.
With AA +, there is only one possibly higher rating – AAA.
The bond rating upgrade “is the result of a sustained practice of good policy and good management by staff,” said Trae Monroe, bond consultant with Stifel Public Finance.
âYou all have very, very strong financial data and you’ve consistently demonstrated over time that you can manage that financial data,â he said. This management, coupled with strong growth and strong economy in the authority service area, led to the increase.
The authority’s finances have not suffered much, if at all, from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Monroe.
With the new financing and thanks to the low interest rates, debt service will drop from about $ 6 million per year to $ 6.5 million per year, Monroe said.
Upgrading the bond rating means savings of around $ 1.5 million over the life of the bonds, he said.
The bonds will be issued in the coming weeks, at the appropriate time. The board of directors should meet at a meeting called to sign the final documents. The final bond total won’t be known until the bonds are sold, Authority CEO Jay Boren said, but it will be around $ 96 million.
The bonds to be defeated include the 2005 series bonds, which were issued before the authority separated from Coweta County as a primarily independent body.
Although the authority has refinanced many bond issues over the years, it has never been able to undo the 2005 bonds because the rate on those bonds was very low, Boren said.
The county – and its taxpayers – would have been responsible for these obligations if the authority was unable to pay them.
âAfter this issue, the county will be off the hook for this 2005 issue,â Boren said.
The 2021 issue will also cover the 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019 bond issues.
The new funding will fund four new projects. The most important is the modernization of the Griffin line, which is estimated to cost $ 10.8 million. The authority will need to start purchasing larger amounts of water from Griffin in 2022, and the current line is not large enough to carry that much water.
Other projects are the relocation of utilities for a road improvement proposal on Sullivan Road, and sewer connections for the Wesley Woods area and the Woodstream Subdivision. These two areas have long been served by Newnan Utilities for sewers, although they are in the county.
In 2019, the authority and Newnan Utilities approved a new water purchase contract. The contract also provided for the authority to take over these two sewerage service areas and to grant the three-year license to operate the lines to connect the areas to the wastewater treatment plant in Shenandoah.
“For us, being able to put a lot more assets in the ground, get the highest grade we got, and be able to make very minimal changes to our debt service, is just a winner. -winning “, declared the board of directors of the Authority. member Mark Woods. “It’s a victory for our taxpayers, it’s a victory for our authority, it’s a victory for the county – it’s good for all of us,” he said. âFor the people who run this placeâ¦ they’re just doing a great job. ”
Authority staff practice good management, and that’s another example, said President Eric Smith. “This is another example of how serious this responsibility they have,” “They are always looking for an opportunity to cut costs and become more efficient.”
The authority is also expanding the Shenandoah plant. This expansion will be funded by loans from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority.