Standard and Poor's Ratings Services upgrades City's fiscal outlook

    TORONTO, March 24 /CNW/ - As Toronto's Executive Committee prepares to
consider the city's $8.2 billion 2008 operating budget tomorrow, Standard and
Poor's Ratings Services has confirmed the City of Toronto's AA credit rating
with an upgrade from a stable to a positive outlook.
    "I am pleased that Standard and Poor's has recognized the improvements in
the City's financial picture," stated Mayor David Miller. "We still have some
work ahead of us, but this is a very positive signal to the residents of
Toronto that we are on the right track."
    The positive outlook upgrade reflects the City's commitment to
maintaining fiscal discipline through prudent management policies and comes as
the first staff recommended balanced budget since amalgamation goes before the
    A March 19 report from the renowned rating agency states that "the city's
financial flexibility is increasing. Thanks to the planned imposition of new
taxes and increased capital and operating support from senior governments,
Toronto's operating and after capital results are expected to improve as the
increased operating and capital revenues phase-in."
    Added city Budget Chief Shelly Carroll: "The report also points to the
importance of accessing new revenue sources to lessen municipal reliance on
property taxes and provide more flexibility in budgeting. The upgraded rating
puts the City on the path to a possible further upgrade which would mean a
further reduction in our borrowing costs."
    City Manager Shirley Hoy commented that "S&P recognizes that the efforts
of the Mayor, Councillors and staff working together to achieve continuous
improvements provide the tools to address the City's fiscal challenges".
    "This credit rating is a positive signal to those investing in the City
that the wide ranging improvements to our financial processes and resources
continue to set the stage for a financially healthy and sustainable City of
Toronto," added Joseph Pennachetti, Toronto's Deputy City Manager and Chief
Financial Officer.

    Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home
to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine
of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America.
In the past three years, Toronto has won more than 70 awards for quality,
innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto's government
is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

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For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Councillor Shelley Carroll, City
Budget Chief, (416) 303-2413

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