City of Saskatoon retains AAA credit rating for 40 years

The City of Saskatoon continues to get glowing reviews for its fiscal management and will maintain four decades with the highest available rating for borrowing money.

S&P Global Ratings affirmed city hall’s AAA credit rating in a report released Thursday. The report says Saskatoon is expected to keep managing taxpayers’ money well for the next three years.

“We expect the City of Saskatoon’s track record of robust fiscal performance to continue, allowing the city to proceed with its capital agenda while maintaining healthy liquidity and minimal debt,” the report says.

Saskatoon became the first municipality in Canada to receive a AAA credit rating in 1989 and has maintained the enviable borrowing status every year since.

The S&P report calls Saskatoon “the economic engine of Saskatchewan” and says city hall will continue to benefit from “a strong and diversified economy.”

The report praised the management team at city hall, which includes chief financial officer Kerry Tarasoff. City manager Jeff Jorgenson is entering his second full year in the role, while a restructuring under Jorgenson and some key departures have created new manager positions that need to be filled.

The city is expected to add $142 million in debt over the next three years to fund capital projects, according to the report, but the city’s debt is still regarded as “minimal.”

The rating agency could change its assessment over the next two years if revenue growth lags behind that of spending, the report adds. That is considered unlikely.

“The outlook is stable,” the report says. “Saskatoon demonstrates what we view as good political and managerial strength with its lengthy track record of passing budgets before the start of fiscal year and meeting goals.

“We also believe that management accountability is strong and financial policies are prudent.”

The report also notes Saskatchewan’s largest city is expected to grow to 280,000 people in 2019, representing a 2.6 per cent increase since 2017.



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