Agency gives coun­cil big tick

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

Porirua City Coun­cil has been given one of the high­est credit rat­ings in the coun­try, but don’t ex­pect rates to go down.

In re­cently re­leased fig­ures, the coun­cil has been as­signed a higher-thanan­tic­i­pated AA long-term rat­ing and an A-1+ short-term rat­ing by credit rat­ing agency Stan­dard and Poor’s.

The rat­ings put Porirua City Coun­cil along­side Hutt City and Welling­ton, and above Kapiti Coast District Coun­cil.

Porirua coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Gary Simp­son said the news showed the coun­cil was man­ag­ing its fi­nances ex­tremely well, de­spite pres­sure to pay for the Trans­mis­sion Gully link roads and other projects.

‘‘We an­tic­i­pated an AA- rat­ing, so it’s very pleas­ing to have a AA. It re­flects an in­de­pen­dent view of our fi­nan­cial po­si­tion,’’ Simp­son said.

‘‘Part of our fi­nan­cial strat­egy has been to man­age debt at the low­est pos­si­ble cost.’’

Simp­son said the new rat­ing would en­able the coun­cil to fund on bor­row­ings at a lower cost.

This will give the coun­cil an ex­tra $600,000, which has been fac­tored into the re­cently adopted an­nual plan.

How­ever, Stan­dard and Poor’s did mark Porirua City Coun­cil down on its op­er­at­ing deficit and un­der- per­for­mance on fees and charges.

Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said the new rat­ing was about con­fi­dence.

‘‘What this tells us is that the coun­cil is well man­aged and we are mak­ing pru­dent de­ci­sions in terms of how we are man­ag­ing the as­sets in our city.

‘‘It’s a con­fi­dence booster and we will take on board the sug­ges­tions from Stan­dard and Poor’s as we de­velop our long-term plan very soon,’’ he said.

Leggett said rates would not go down, but people in Porirua should be as­sured that the level of ser­vice for rates was high.

‘‘At the end of the day, it’s im­por­tant that people think they are get­ting proper ser­vice for what they pay. That’s what counts to me.

‘‘There will al­ways be those out there who want to scare people about how their coun­cil is run, but Stan­dard and Poor’s looks at a lot of dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tions and en­ti­ties and it has said things look pretty good in Porirua.’’

He said Porirua would ben­e­fit from an in­ter­est rates re­duc­tion when the coun­cil went to the mar­ket to fund its cap­i­tal pro­gramme.

Gary Simp­son: Pleas­ant sur­prise.

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