Moody's likes city's prudent fiscal planningSaturday, December 08, 2012 by: Kate AdamsMayor Al McDonald
Moody's Investors Service has released an updated Credit Opinion for the City of North Bay. The City of North Bay's Aa2 debt rating reflects prudent fiscal planning and stable operations. North Bay has been successful in funding priority programs and infrastructure projects, while recording healthy financial outcomes and maintaining a solid balance sheet with adequate liquidity. Moody’s indicates that North Bay’s Rating Outlook is Aa2 Stable.
Under the National Peer Comparison, Moody's states, when compared with other Canadian municipalities, North Bay exhibits relatively low debt and a low debt service ratio. While many Ontario's municipalities exhibit very high levels of cash and investments, North Bay's holdings, equivalent to 66.5 % of net direct and indirect debt as of December 31, 2011, are well aligned with other Canadian Aa2 municipalities.
Moody's Key Rating Consideration, Financial Position and Performance states The City of North Bay's use of effective budgeting techniques has led, in recent years, to a series of solid fiscal performances. The City also relies on multi-year budgeting updated annually to guide its long-term approach to addressing future infrastructure needs. With these forward-looking practices, the City is able to align fiscal policies with long-term planning, which in turn helps to routinely generate positive operating results.
Moody's Debt profile states, despite the modest increase in the cities net direct and indirect debt, North Bay's debt burden remains lower than the average in the Canadian context. Total service debt-as a percentage of total revenues in 2011 was 6.9%, a manageable level given the City's fiscal flexibility.
City Council’s decision to limit debt financing to $9 million per year, along with one-time reduction of $1 million to the 2013 pay-as-you-go operating budget has been viewed as credit positive for the City. 2011 marked the first year since 2007 that holdings of cash and investments increased from the previous year.
Under Governance and Management Factors, Moody's lists North Bay displays strong governance and management characteristics. The City of North Bay appreciates Moody's continued positive acknowledgement of the City’s strong financial position and performance.