The New York City Municipal Water Finance Authority plans to sell $499.5 million of bonds on its first resolution next week to take out commercial paper and refund $37 million of outstanding debt. A one-day retail order period begins on Monday followed by institutional pricing on Tuesday. The final structure has not been decided yet. Merrill Lynch & Co. will serve as book-running senior manager and DEPFA First Albany Securities LLC, M.R. Beal & Co, Siebert Brandford Shank & Co, and UBS Securities LLC are co-senior managers. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is bond counsel. Lamont Financial Services Corp. and Ramirez & Co. are financial advisers. The authority finances the capital program for the city’s water system, which is operated by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and provides about 1,185 million gallons of water per day to about 9 million people in the metropolitan area. The MWFA projects that citywide water consumption by metered customers will decline 1% annually from fiscal 2008 through 2011, but expects revenue to increase due to increases in usage fees and more effective enforcement of delinquent accounts. The New York City Water Board has requested that the City Council reauthorize the practice of lien sales on unpaid water and sewage fees that expired in fiscal 2006. The board also increased usage fees by 11.5% for the current fiscal year and will consider an midyear increase of up to 18% next month. Fitch Ratings assigns its AA rating to the authority’s first resolution bonds. Moody’s Investors Service assigns its Aa2 rating and Standard & Poor’s rates the credit AA-plus. The authority has sold $13.63 billion of bonds since 1998, including $2.14 billion this year, according to Thomson Financial.
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