The Bond Buyer, a national publication serving the municipal bond industry, has awarded its 2017 Deal of the Year for the Midwest Region to the $1.3 billion inaugural financing of the newly created Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), one of the largest water and sewer systems in North America. Kutak Rock participated as counsel to the underwriters in two separate bond transactions closing in late 2016 that refinanced outstanding debt of both the water system and the sewer system and provided funds for a number of water system improvement projects, at favorable borrowing rates that should result in long term savings benefitting GLWA’s customers. Debbie Ruskin led a team of Kutak Rock attorneys that included David Lu, Tom Roubidoux, and Greg Mottla.
The GLWA financings are the first public bond offerings since GLWA assumed all operational, infrastructure improvement, environmental compliance and budget-setting responsibilities for the Regional Water System and Regional Sewer System previously operated by the City of Detroit. GLWA was created by the City of Detroit and the Counties of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne, Michigan as part of Detroit’s plan to exit Chapter 9 bankruptcy. GLWA is currently the sole provider of wholesale water and wastewater services to millions of Michigan residents in 127 municipalities across seven southeastern Michigan counties.As underwriters’ counsel for GLWA’s initial financings—a $917.8 million issue of Water Supply System Revenue and Revenue Refunding Bonds and a $421.2 million issue of Sewage Disposal System Revenue Refunding Bonds—Kutak Rock worked closely with GLWA’s staff, financial advisors and Citigroup, as lead manager for the underwriters, to create a comprehensive financing structure together with the required transaction documents that would set the
The Bond Buyer’s “Deal of the Year” honors issuers who drive innovation in public finance by recognizing their outstanding municipal bond transactions in eight categories (Northeast Region, Southwest Region, Midwest Region, Southeast Region, Far West Region, Non-Traditional Financing, Health Care Financing and Small-Issuer Financing) that were closed between October 3, 2016 and September 29, 2017.