Posted by ruth woodward
Western Bay of Plenty District Council has gained an upgraded credit rating to the highest possible ranking for a local authority.
International credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has lifted Council from AA-minus to AA rating and has revised Council’s outlook from stable to positive.
The upgrade is in recognition of Council’s significant reduction in debt, good financial performance and positive fiscal outlook.
In its report released in late September, S&P noted it expected Council’s financial position to continue to improve as it benefits from strong revenue growth.
Council’s sound financial management is helping it achieve after-capital account surpluses and reduce its debt levels. These stronger financial forecasts also support Council’s liquidity position via higher cash reserves.
Council CEO Miriam Taris says the upgrade is a very positive report card for Council.
“This result comes on the heels of our Annual Report which reflects our falling debt and strong budgetary performance after funding operational costs and capital works.
“The new rating should also provide stakeholders and the community with confidence that Council promotes a strong management culture, fiscal discipline and high levels of financial disclosure to support Council’s prudent approach to financial management.’’
The framework within which councils operate in New Zealand provides the foundation for Council to set its strategic direction via its Long Term Plan and to budget accordingly.
Since 2012, Council has steadily shrunk its net debt from $144m to $80m. Council has budgeted $43m for capital works in this 2019/20 financial year.