Clackamas County Service District No. 1 debt integrated into WES partnership, upgraded to AAA rating

From: Edward Nieto, Clackamas County Water Environment Services, 503-742-4561

Media and Interested Parties

The Board of County Commissioners has taken several actions that allow Water Environment Services (WES) to be substituted as the issuer of the outstanding debt of Clackamas County Service District No. 1 (CCSD#1), among the final steps toward consummating a partnership with Tri-City Service District (TCSD) and the Surface Water Management Agency of Clackamas County.

In November 2016, commissioners formalized the long-running partnership of CCSD#1 and TCSD into the Water Environment Services partnership under Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 190. SWMACC joined the partnership in May 2017. 

The partnership serves cities and communities in the districts, including Boring, Fischer’s Forest Park, Gladstone, Happy Valley, Hoodland, Johnson City, Milwaukie, Oregon City, West Linn and unincorporated Clackamas County.

The boundaries of the service districts will remain the same and serve as “rate zones” within the partnership.

The $92 million in outstanding CCSD#1 debt will be paid for exclusively by ratepayers in rate zone two without affecting ratepayers in rate zones one and three.

The action keeps WES on track to fully integrate the budgets, operations, assets and regulatory requirements of the three entities into the partnership by June 30.

“This partnership ensures long-term certainty and stability for decades to come,” said Clackamas County Chair Jim Bernard. “In addition to keeping rates low, the partnership provides a streamlined approach for regulatory compliance while bolstering WES’ ability to protect public health, the environment and future economic growth.”

As a result of the partnership formation and integration, Standard & Poor’s, the financial ratings services company, has upgraded the debt rating from “AA+” to its highest issuer credit rating of “AAA,” which indicates excellent financial health and an “extremely strong capacity for an entity to meet its financial commitments,” according to the assessment. 

“S&P’s upgrade helps save money for our customers through lower interest rates for future borrowings to the benefit of all WES customers, and reflects the commitment of WES to being dedicated stewards of ratepayer dollars in addition to protecting public health and our shared environment in Clackamas County,” said WES Director Greg Geist.

For more information, members of the media and public may contact Community Relations Specialist Edward Nieto at 503-742-4561 or enieto@clackamas.us