Moody’s upgrades revenue rating for County’s Water and Sewer System

April 25, 2023

One of the nation’s premier credit rating bureaus has upgraded Richland County’s revenue rating status for its water and sewer utility, signaling confidence in the County’s sound financial practices and policies.

Moody’s Investors Service raised the County’s Aa3 rating to Aa2. In a news release, Moody’s said:

“The upgrade reflects the system’s very healthy liquidity metrics and strong governance overlap with Richland County (Aaa, stable) through the county council’s oversight of the system’s operating budget and capital plans. The system’s water and sewer facilities have ample capacity to service the stable customer base.”

The service area map for Richland County Utilities comprises the Broad River area and Southeast Richland.

“This upgrade is a testament to Richland County’s financial management and fiscal accountability when it comes to water and sewer utilities,” said County Administrator Leonardo Brown. “Taxpayers should feel confident that the County remains strongly committed to fiscal responsibility, which is one of the County’s six strategic goals.”

Moody’s removed its previously positive outlook for the water and sewer utility. The utility system has about $54.1 million in total debt outstanding as of June 30, 2022; Moody’s typically does not assign outlooks to local governments with this amount of debt outstanding.

A good bond rating helps taxpayers’ dollars stretch further because it is less expensive for the County to finance debt obligations. Proceeds from bonds are used to fund various capital projects, such as transportation improvements.