Easy breathing: COVID-19 fails to choke Sault’s credit rating

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The coronavirus has so far not stifled the Sault’s credit rating, city councilors will learn Monday evening.Shelley Schell, City Financial Director and Treasurer, will report that S&P Global Ratings maintains the City of Sault Ste. Marie’s credit rating at AA (stable).

“Operational performance is largely unscathed by the pandemic, in part due to management action,” S&P said in its latest update.

“To mitigate the revenue impact of COVID-19, which we believe will be temporary and largely tied to rate-based and fee-based revenue, management has put cost-cutting measures in place,” he said. credit analyst.

“This amount, along with provincial relief funding, will likely be sufficient to cover the year-end deficit, leaving more leeway to move forward with planned initiatives and reduce future budget pressures. On average, we expect operating balances to remain strong at nearly 13% of operating revenue. ”

“We predict that the impact of the pandemic on Sault Ste. Marie will be short lived, as the city’s exposure to the coronavirus has been limited. While activity rebounds, we expect pre-pandemic economic pressures to remain. In particular, Sault Ste. . Marie’s difficult demographics limit the city’s growth prospects and could affect her ability to generate income, in our opinion. ”

“We continue to monitor the success of the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program, a federal government project to help small rural and northern communities attract and retain skilled foreign workers to meet their immigration needs. economic development and labor market that started late last year, ”says the S&P report.

“Sault Ste. Marie is the third largest city in Northern Ontario, relying primarily on steelmaking and forestry. Although the city continues to gradually diversify away from its traditional resource-based economy, we believe that the economic and related GDP in the medium term [gross domestic product] growth will remain moderate relative to that of Canada. Although GDP per capita is not available, we estimate it to be somewhat below the national level of about US $ 42,000 based on the city’s income levels. ”

Monday night’s city council meeting will be televised live on SooToday starting at 4:30 p.m.

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