Palm Coast - Fitch Ratings announced Monday, Dec. 7, it's upgrade of the City of Palm Coast's utility outstanding obligations bond rating from A+ to AA, which represents an extremely strong rating.

"Achieving this rating upgrade is a testament to the strong financial system and management at the City of Palm Coast," said Palm Coast City Manager Matthew Morton. "This is a huge validation to the quality and competency of the City Utility and Finance Departments."

Fitch assessed the standalone credit profile (SCP) of the city's water and sewer system at 'AA' and also noted the rating outlook was revised from positive to stable. In 2019, Fitch affirmed the City's A+ rating from stable to positive.

By having high ratings, this helps the city secure financing at attractive and lower interest rates, and thus, finance other projects at a cost effective rate.

"I am excited to see our team's hard work and effort in fiscal responsibility and management are being recognized by Fitch," said Finance Director Helena Alves. "Thanks to City leadership's conservative budget practices of taxpayer dollars, with this news it validates that we're moving in the right direction."

The release also stated the upgrade of the bond rating reflects the system's improving financial profile that has benefitted from strong growth in connection fees and funds available for debt service in recent years, despite an expanding capital program.

The recent outbreak of the coronavirus has not shown significant impairment to the system's revenue or cost profiles with no consumption reductions observed, according to the announcement.

The utility provides retail water and wastewater services to a mostly residential combined customer base of more than 78,000 customers. The service area encompasses the city and adjacent unincorporated areas of Flagler County covering about 85 square miles.

Fitch Ratings, one of several credit rating agencies, is a leading provider of credit ratings, research and analysis for the global financial markets. The Fitch Ratings release and ratings information can be found at fitchratings.com.

The series 2013 bonds are also rated by S & P Global Ratings at A+.

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