Lawrence utility rating increased second year in a row


S&P Global Ratings has raised its rating for the City of Lawrence’s water utility two notches from BBB to A- and has been issued a “positive outlook.”

This is the second S&P rating upgrade for the City of Lawrence Utilities since Mayor Steve Collier took office in 2016. The first upgrade occurred in 2017 to BBB with positive outlook from BB+.

“This is a major milestone for the City of Lawrence and validates the progress we have made in reviving the Utility’s finances,” Collier said. “When we took office, our administration faced a $1.45 million deficit, leaving the water utility to borrow from the sewer utility, but we have managed to turn the utility around financially and upgrade city services.”

“This rating increase will lead to lower overall interest rates and save utility ratepayers in terms of lower debt service in future years,” Lawrence City Financial Controller and Utility CFO Jason Fenwick said. “This rating increase will directly benefit ratepayers.”

S&P upgraded the credit rating based on Lawrence Utilities’ recent and projected improvement in both budgetary performance, good operational management practices and policies and its fund balance.

“(Fenwick), Utilities Supt. Scott Salsbery and their teams have done an excellent job solving many of our biggest budgetary challenges,” Collier said. “This announcement is yet another indication that the financial sector is watching and taking notice of our efforts.”

Salsbery said the fiscal responsibility and improvements also have enabled Lawrence Utilities to provide vital infrastructure updates.