The city of Sterling Heights has been upgraded to a positive financial outlook from S&P (Standard and Poor’s) Global Ratings.
S&P noted a number of factors influencing their rating, including:
- A strong local economy with continuing major construction activity
- Low debt in comparison to authorized debt limits allowed in the City’s charter
- Strong financial management, including long-term financial planning and maintenance of very strong reserves
- Continuing infrastructure improvements with massive investments in roads
- Increasing property values
Most significantly, the city has made notable progress toward fully funding long-term legacy costs related to pensions and health care with an average funding level at almost 80%, in large part due to significant reforms implemented over the past decade.
According to S&P, “The City’s tax base is expansive and diverse and has exhibited healthy growth in recent years, which supports the positive outlook. This, in combination with strong financial management, has contributed to a solid financial position, with consistent surplus operations and the maintenance of very strong reserves.”
“I am proud of the City’s financial stability and positive outlook validated by Standard and Poor’s. The City’s superior credit rating is a reflection of solid financial stewardship from the Mayor, City Council and our Administrative leadership team,” said Sterling Heights Finance and Budget Director Jennifer Varney. “Only 2% of local governments rated by S&P achieve a “positive” outlook, further affirming the City’s strong financial position.”
The City’s recently submitted budget includes a number of major initiatives including additional road improvements, public safety enhancements and a communitywide traffic calming study, among other initiatives. The budget also includes a tax rate decrease underscoring the City’s positive financial condition. The first budget hearing begins April 12, 2022 at 6:30 pm in Sterling Heights City Council Chambers.