Durham maintains credit rating PDF Print E-mail

The investment community has once again given Durham a boost, as the influential Moody's Investors Service has maintained the region's high credit rating.

The Regional Municipality of Durham has maintained its Triple A credit rating with Moody’s Investors Service of New York (Moody’s). This rating places Durham Region as one of only seven select Canadian municipalities to have an excellent reputation in the investment community.

“Moody’s identifies strong governance and management practices as some of the underlying fundamentals of credit strength,” said Roger Anderson, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer. “This rating shows how Durham Regional Council strives to make this organization a leader in fiscal responsibility and integrity by ensuring sound financial planning.”

Moody’s outlined a number of Durham Region’s credit strengths, such as: strong financial planning; sound management practices; the utilization of current funds to pay for capital infrastructure projects (therefore, limiting the amount of debt to be financed); the maintenance of reserve funds; and affordable property tax and revenue-based increases. They were also impressed with the allowance made in the Regional budget to accommodate increased pressure on the social assistance provided to our residents—a result of the recent economic climate.

“Responsible financial planning allows us to continually advance key priorities, while maintaining high-quality programs and services for our residents,” said Regional Councillor Don Mitchell, Chair of the Finance & Administration Committee. “These guidelines will remain a priority as we move into the 2011 budget cycle.”

The budget process begins with the development of a five-year forecast, which helps the Region to identify, and prepare for, future challenges.??“Moody’s noted that this favourable rating is partly due to our reliance on long-term financial planning, as it helps us to address potential challenges before they arise,” said Jim Clapp, Commissioner of Finance. “This practice ensures consistent, positive financial results, which allows us to exceed fiscal targets and ensure funds are always available to cover debt.”

The report also highlighted the Region’s dedication to increased economic diversification. Although the local economy used to depend heavily on the manufacturing sector (primarily automotive), Moody’s pointed out that Durham Region has diversified and will benefit from several institutions.