LAKEWOOD, Calif., Feb. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Water Replenishment District (WRD) has maintained an 'AA+' rating from Standard & Poor's Rating Services, the second highest credit rating possible.
"The Board of Directors and the WRD staff are honored to continue to achieve such a high rating from the credit rating services," said WRD Board Treasurer Albert Robles. "This outstanding rating is a testament to the hard work that the District undertakes to make sure its operations are transparent as we provide our constituents with affordable, safe and reliable groundwater."
WRD has faced challenges in the form of unnecessary and costly lawsuits, yet is one of the precious few agencies to achieve and maintain an AA+ rating. Along with this remarkable achievement, WRD has received over $22 million in state and federal grants over the past year to fund key sustainability projects like its Water Independence Now, or "WIN" Program.
When complete, the "WIN" Program will provide a self-sufficient groundwater supply that provides 40% of the water for 4 million people of the region, or 10% of the state's population. "WIN" will also reduce pressure on the fragile Bay Delta and the Colorado River, provide long term water cost stabilization, and continue to make this region a viable place for residents and businesses alike.
WRD was previously recognized for its strong fiscal responsibility when it was awarded the highest recognition in the area of government and financial accounting—the "Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting"—by the Government Financial Officers Association (GFOA). The GFOA is the professional association of state/provincial and local finance officers in the United States and Canada, and has served the public finance profession since 1906.
Furthermore, Scott Ota, long time WRD Chief Financial Officer, was recognized as Government/Public Sector CFO of The Year by the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2013. Since joining WRD in 2003, Mr. Ota has accomplished much, including a comprehensive overhaul of the District's budget development and rate setting process, which has since received the Award for Excellence for Operating Budgeting from the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers for eight (8) consecutive years. Mr. Ota also led the Districts efforts in 2004, 2008 and 2011 issuance of Certificates of Participation. He was responsible for leading the financing team; bond counsel, financial advisors, underwriters and underwriter's counsel through the process.
Ota's valuable leadership has helped WRD maintain a strong fiscal profile. Standard & Poors was recently scrutinized by the Department of Justice for fraudulently issuing overly favorable ratings to boost demand for its services. Many agencies, including WRD, had to undergo a thorough re-evaluation process to adjust credit ratings to fit previously accepted standards. WRD's AA+ rating was upheld despite the audit. All of these financial achievements remain a testament to the strength, stability, and future of WRD.
The Water Replenishment District of Southern California is the regional groundwater management agency that protects and preserves the quantity and quality of groundwater for two of the most utilized urban basins in the State of California. The service area is home to over ten percent of California's population residing in 43 cities in southern Los Angeles County. WRD is governed by a publicly elected Board of Directors including Willard H. Murray, Jr., Robert Katherman, John D. S. Allen, Sergio Calderon, and Albert Robles.