All is well maintains Gary Carr - the Region still has its Aaa bond rating

By Pepper Parr

February 21st, 2023



Halton, and the municipalities within the Region ar in great financial shape.  How do we know that?

Gary Carr on the campaign trail – his campaign signs were a jersey that he wore. Won by a landslide

Because Regional Chair Gary Carr issued a statement today advising the public that Halton has received a Aaa credit rating for the 35th consecutive year

On February 3, 2023, Carr reported that “Moody’s Investors Service reaffirmed Halton Region’s Aaa Credit rating for another year. Achieving this rating status ensures that Halton Region and its Local Municipalities that borrow under this credit rating will continue to receive the best funding rates in the capital markets. Moody’s report praises Halton Region’s growing and diversified economy with a rising population, its fiscal management practices and institutional framework. The Region has maintained its top credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service for the last 35 years.

“Preserving Halton’s strong financial position has been an essential part of enhancing our services and critical investments, especially as we work to grow and support infrastructure for residents,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “We are proud to preserve this credit rating for the 35th consecutive year. Receiving this Aaa credit rating confirms our prudent financial planning and supports our ongoing plans to maintain a high quality of life in Halton.”

Earning a top credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service is critical to preserving Halton’s strong long-term financial position as the Region works to build and enhance infrastructure. This distinction is a key objective in the 2023 Budget and Business Plan, and allows public funds to go further when investing in essential Regional works, including road, water and wastewater projects that help build healthy, complete communities.

Moody’s report highlighted the following credit strengths as rationale for their decision:
• exceptional levels of liquidity and low debt burden;
• strong governance and management including forward looking operating and capital planning;
• diversified economy and strong population growth leads to rising tax base; and
• stable and predictable revenue sources support strong fiscal outcomes, and shelter the Region from fiscal pressures including adverse Provincial changes

In July 2022, S&P Global Ratings also upheld its top rating for Halton. Halton Region has maintained top credit ratings from S&P Global Ratings (AAA) since 2002 and Moody’s Investors Service (Aaa) since 1989.

Regional government does all the debenture borrowing for the four municipalities.

Any borrowing Halton municipalities want to do is funnelled through the Region who does the borrowing on behalf of the municipality.

While we have a good credit rating and money in the bank and Canada’s inflation fell to 5.9% in January – food prices keep on soaring
Meat prices rose by 7.4 per cent, their highest increase since 2004, while baked goods, dairy products and fresh vegetables saw double-digit increases.
The Consumer Price Index — a broad-based basket of goods and services used to measure inflation — was 5.9 per cent higher than it was at this time last year. That’s down from the 6.3 per cent inflation seen in December.

Inflation has eased somewhat since last June, when it hit a 39-year high of 8.1 per cent. But it’s still well above the Bank of Canada’s target of two per cent per year.

Meanwhile Burlington increased its spending by 5.7% over last year. The total tax increases is 7.57% with the difference between the two being what the city collects on behalf of the Region and the schools boards.

School boards did not increase their taxes this year.

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