City of Santa Clarita earns top ratings for fiscal health

Santa Clarita City Hall, as pictured on Feb. 26. Dan Watson/The Signal

News release  

The city of Santa Clarita was recently ranked in the top 5% of fiscally healthy cities by the California State Auditor.  

The California State Auditor’s website features an interactive dashboard that compares the fiscal health of more than 430 cities based on 10 financial indicators. Santa Clarita received a low-risk designation and received perfect scores in the categories of liquidity, general fund reserves, pension obligations and in “other post-employment benefit” obligation, receiving a total combined score of 94.1. 

As part of the state’s high-risk local government agency audit program, the State Auditor aimed to identify cities that could be facing fiscal challenges by assessing their levels of risk using various financial metrics primarily found in each city’s Annual Comprehensive Financial Report for the Fiscal Year 2020-21. Some of these metrics included cash position/liquidity, debt burden, financial reserves, revenue trends, pension and OPEB obligations, among others.  

Using information published by each city, the State Auditor placed high, moderate or low-risk designations on each city with regard to fiscal confidence. The analysis concluded with five cities receiving high-risk designations, while 157 cities received moderate and 268 cities received low-risk marks. The full analysis may be reviewed by visiting  

“The city of Santa Clarita continues to be fiscally healthy and well-prepared for any challenges that may arise,” said City Manager Ken Striplin. “The conservative budget practice we have implemented keeps our city fiscally strong and allows us to regularly add new benefits and amenities for residents, such as the inclusive play area at West Creek Park that is under construction, The Cube, the Canyon Country Community Center and the new Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.” 

Standard & Poors has also affirmed Santa Clarita’s “AAA” issuer credit rating with a “stable” outlook – one of only 42 cities in California to receive this top-tier rating. This rating reflects Standard & Poors’ forward-thinking opinion of the city’s overall creditworthiness and the capacity and willingness to meet financial obligations. This “AAA” rating reflects a very strong and growing local economy, good fiscal management policies and practices, and very strong budgetary flexibility and liquidity with an operating surplus. Santa Clarita has been recognized as being among the strongest cities in the nation for its budgetary flexibility. 

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