City of Syracuse bond rating upgraded by S&P to A+, first improvement since 2014

Syracuse, NY – The bond rating for the city of Syracuse has been upgraded by Standard & Poor’s to A+, the first upgrade to Syracuse’s ratings status since 2014.

With this rating, Syracuse is considered fiscally stable by the three major bond agencies, Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch. The city was also upgraded to A+ by Fitch this year, while Moody’s maintained an A1 rating. Ratings range from AAA to BBB-.

“The one-notch upgrade is due to the city’s financial resilience and strength during the COVID-19 pandemic, including increasing reserves to a level we consider very strong at the end of fiscal year 2021,” S&P wrote in its report.

For taxpayers, a better bond rating is important because it allows the city to borrow money at a lower rate, which ultimately saves residents money. It is also an indication of a city’s financial stability.

When Walsh was elected to his first term as mayor, the city’s financial situation was a major topic, with the city’s operating deficit growing enough that the city was able to deplete its reserves within three years if that pace continued. This status actually compared favorably to a number of upstate towns, including Albany.

Improving the city’s ranking, S&P cited the city’s strong 2021 fiscal year, its estimate of a strong 2022 fiscal year, and an influx of $123 million in federal funds through the American Rescue Plan Act. .

“Syracuse is making the long and difficult climb back to fiscal sustainability,” Walsh said in a statement released by the city. “The upgrade is another indicator that we are getting closer to that goal. A stronger bond rating means the city benefits from lower borrowing costs, which will translate into real savings for taxpayers. It is also a sign of greater financial stability, which means we are better able to improve services and meet the challenges our residents face.

Walsh said the city’s surplus is expected to reach more than $100 million by the end of the fiscal year, June 30. He said the city expects to tap into that surplus in the coming years and will try to find ways to increase revenue.

“Our journey to fiscal sustainability continues,” Walsh said. “Through good tax decision-making in partnership with the Municipal Council; sacrifices of residents and employees; and strong support from our state and federal partners; we are in a better place. The city still faces a structural deficit: our expenses exceed revenues. We need to find new sources of revenue and continue to make smart investments in the city that lead to growth. »

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