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Fitch Ratings affirms AA- rating for Gastonia

Fitch Ratings has affirmed an “AA-” rating for Gastonia’s $36 million in outstanding utilities system revenue bonds.

Fitch said the rating outlook is stable.

The water and sewage system’s financial performance has been somewhat mixed, especially over the past two fiscal years, Fitch said.

But adopted rate increases through 2014 should improve finances to normal levels, Fitch said.

Debt per customer has been on a downward trend through fiscal 2010. At $822 it is well below the average for Fitch-rated water and sewage systems in the “AA” category, Fitch said.

The monthly residential rate for water and sewage is $68 for 7,000 gallons, which is elevated given the below-average income levels, Fitch said.

The system provides water and sewage service to approximately 84,000 residents within the city of Gastonia and to portions of unincorporated Gaston County, municipalities in other areas of the county and one municipality in South Carolina.

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