DALLAS -- Standard & Poor's upgraded Oklahoma Water Resources Board's state loan program revenue bonds to AAA from AA-plus based on a stronger general obligation pledge approved by voters last year.
The new rating matches those of Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings. Outlooks are stable.
More than 56% of Oklahoma voters approved State Question 764 that appeared on the statewide ballot Nov. 6, 2012. The proposal sought a $300 million general obligation bond issue to establish a credit enhancement reserve fund for the board.
"The upgrade reflects the board's access to the newly created Water Infrastructure Credit Enhancement Reserve Fund," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst James Breeding. “The board now has the ability to issue bonds supported by a state general obligation pledge in an amount up to $300 million.”
Governed by a nine-member board, the OWRB board serves as a bond bank for local utilities seeking lower rates on loans. With cross-collateralization, the board is able to obtain rates at about 70% of the market rate for drinking water bonds.
The top five borrowers in the loan portfolio include Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority at 7.3% of the pool, Moore Public Works Authority at 5%, Bartlesville Municipal Authority at 5%, Lawton Water Authority at 4.2%, and Enid Municipal Authority at 3.9%.