Riverton City’s financial outlook is very strong following both the Riverton City Council’s approval of the 2019-2020 fiscal year budget and a recent bond rating upgrade from S&P Global Ratings. The final budget approval took place on June 18 following weeks of discussion and debate among council members. The total budget stands at just under $44.9 million, excluding transfers and additions to fund balance.
“I believe we have arrived at a budget that funds essential city services and critical infrastructure improvements while not increasing any fees or taxes, following through on our fiduciary responsibility to be fiscally responsible with taxpayer funds,” said Mayor Trent Staggs. “Our city is in a very strong financial position given increasing sales tax revenues from our vibrant local economy and decreasing debt.”
The budget is balanced. There are no fees or taxes being increased; a point of differentiation between Riverton and many other cities. The budget includes $5.8 million collected from the Riverton Law Enforcement Service Area to fund the new Riverton Police Department, which will have 35 sworn officers. The officer count is an increase of 8-10 more officers in precinct compared to what the city averaged over the last several years with Unified Police Department, all at no more than what the city would have paid to UPD for law enforcement service.
Increasing sales tax revenues continue to show the economic vitality of the city. Projected sales tax revenues for the 2019-2020 fiscal year sit at $7.9 million. This stands in contrast to the $5.6 the city received just four years prior in 2015. These revenues are critical to city operations, as the city does not itself impose a property tax.
Specific funding priorities called out in the budget include more than $4 million in roadway projects, new curb, gutter and safety projects, improvements to the community center and city plaza, a merit increase for city employees, and emergency management.
The city’s bond rating upgrade to AA+ from AA- was announced by S&P in early June. The rating upgrade was based on S&P’s assessment of the city’s:
- Participation in the Salt Lake City-Ogden metropolitan statistical area and its location along major transportation corridors, with further economic development likely;
- Strong growth in pledged revenue during the past five fiscal years; and
- Strong pro forma 3.85x coverage of maximum annual debt service.
“The rating upgrade from S&P speaks volumes about the financial outlook of our city,” said City Manager Konrad Hildebrandt. “The city’s creditworthiness is essential for low interest rates and borrowing capacity when the city has to bond for large infrastructure projects.”
Should economic growth and debt reduction trends continue, it’s like the city’s rating will upgrade further. Riverton City already maintains a AAA bond rating from Fitch; the highest rating the agency provides.
In total, the city carries $35.2 million in debt. This equates to per capita debt of $782, a decrease of 22% from $1,118 per capita in 2015.