Canyons School District has maintained its sterling, “AAA” bond rating, according to the credit rating firm Fitch.
A signal of confidence to bond investors, the “AAA” designation reflects Canyons’ “solid financial operations...and low debt burden,” stated Fitch in a press announcement.
This isn’t the first endorsement of Canyons District’s fiscal integrity. Moody's Investors Service also gives Canyons an "AAA" rating. And this year, Business Administrator Leon Wilcox and his team have secured not one, but two budgeting awards. Most recently, Canyons was honored by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada with a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, which reflects CSD’s commitment to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. The distinction comes just weeks after CSD’s receipt of the Association of School Business Officials’ Meritorious Budget Award.
The “AAA” rating, however, is especially critical as it has a bearing on the District’s ability to affordably bond to pay for an estimated $300 million in deferred upgrades to its school buildings. A high rating is like having perfect credit, which translates to low interest rates and millions in savings to taxpayers.
The District is on time and under budget with construction projects financed through a $250 million bond that voters approved in 2010. Since then, Canyons has undertaken an average of two major construction projects each year with crews undertaking the final project this summer: a remodel of Indian Hills Middle. All this, and more, was achieved without a single property tax increase.
Propelled by rising property values, the District’s aggregate taxable assessed valuation rebounded strongly after a 7 percent recessionary decline. This, coupled with growth (new residential and commercial construction), gave rise to an 18 percent rise in valuation between fiscal years 2013 and 2016 — and projections are for continued annual growth.