Stratford tops in province when it comes to municipal debt, report shows
Published Thursday, February 21, 2013 5:47PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 21, 2013 6:35PM EST
A new report shows that Stratford leads all Ontario municipalities when it comes to borrowed money.
The report, issued by BMA Management Consulting, says that Stratford has the highest debt per capita levels in the province, coming in at just over $2,000 per head.
But city officials say there’s a different picture to be painted – one that will pay dividends in the future.
“Looking at one number by itself sometimes doesn’t tell the full story,” says Andre Morin, the city’s director of corporate services.
“We have spent some serious capital dollars over the past five years, and we’ve incurred long-term debt to do that.”
Morin says it’s a good time for Stratford to be taking on debt, with low interest rates over the past few years allowing the city to borrow extra money to fund new infrastructure projects.
Taxpayers in Stratford say they have no issue with high municipal debt, as long as it doesn’t get out of hand.
“A little bit of debt (is) not necessarily a bad thing … as long as it’s not any more debt than you can afford,” says resident Glen Russell.
“You don’t want to waste money.”
Resident Ken DeLaat agrees.
“You do have to provide infrastructure, so as long as it's reasonable in terms of servicing the debt, I'm OK with it,” he says.
The report says that despite Stratford’s high debt load, it sits comfortably in the middle of the pack when it comes to servicing that debt.