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Guelph boasts AA+ credit rating for 8th straight year despite COVID-19

The view of downtown Guelph as seen from the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate at Norfolk and Macdonell streets.
The view of downtown Guelph as seen from the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate at Norfolk and Macdonell streets. Nick Westoll / Global News

The City of Guelph says its credit rating remains strong at AA+ for the eighth year in a row, despite the financial pressures imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to S&P Global Ratings, Guelph’s ability to meet its financial commitments is between very strong and extremely strong.

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“This strong AA+ credit rating is more important than ever given the current economy and state of emergency,” Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie said in a statement.

The city said S&P believes that despite the economic slowdown caused by the novel coronavirus, the city will recover within the next two years due to “prudent financial management and cost containment efforts” along with the city’s “exceptional” liquidity position.

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Guelph’s CAO Scott Stewart said all the credit goes to council and staff.

“I’d also like to thank our local businesses, community partners and Guelph residents who continue to support and drive our economy as we navigate our way through recovery,” he said.

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Guelph’s financial picture amid the pandemic has the city projecting a $24.3-million deficit this year. Staff reported a loss of revenue at $20.7 million and $3.6 million in additional costs.

About $14.3 million in savings were made by halting spending, laying off employees, pausing non-critical hiring and cutting services and programs.

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Even with a $10-million shortfall, the city will receive $12 million in COVID-19 relief from the provincial and federal governments, with more funding expected in the future.

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Over $6.9 million will be for Guelph’s operational costs related to the pandemic and over $5 million will be for transit