Is Savannah going bankrupt?
Nope. By many measures, Savannah City Government has never
been on more solid financial ground.
The City’s general fund balance – our unrestricted reserve
fund – is at $34.7 million, or about 20% of operating expenditures. That fund
is nearly twice what it was a decade ago, and is a major sign of fiscal
The recession was tough, but we got through it without major
service reductions or tax increases. Our major revenue sources – sales and
property tax collections – are now nearly back to pre-recession levels, and
hotel/motel tax revenue continues to break records.
The City’s financial position is so strong that in 2014
Standard and Poors rating agency upgraded Savannah’s bond rating to AA-plus,
the highest rating we have received in three decades. This means that lending
money to Savannah is considered less risky, giving us access to better rates.
You can read the Standard and Poors justification for the rate increase.
In 2014 and 2015, the City used this new AA-plus rating to
refinance a series of old bonds that will save the City $8.1 million over the
life of those bonds.
City Council has always passed a balanced budget, and over
the past decade we have done so without having to draw from our fund balance.
If you want a lot more information about the City’s financial position, read the July 2015 Financial Update presentation
or view the workshop where that update was presented.
If you want to know a LOT more about all this, read the City’s latest Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (our annual audit).