Thursday, February 6, 2014

Tel Aviv: ₪3bn budget surplus, AAA credit rating

Tel Aviv municipality ended its 2013 local elections year's budget, with a cash surplus of 3 billion shekel, in a report published by S&P Maalot credit ratings. The report reveals "Tel Aviv will end 2013 on a positive horizon, with an operating surplus of 3.9% of its revenues and the city's financial liquidity is high by international comparisons". Maalot approved a perfect rating (AAA) for Tel Aviv municipality and noted that financially they forecast a continued scenario for the coming years. The report showed that the municipality had cash and liquid assets of 2.9 billion shekel and managed to lower bank credit loans, while many local municipalities struggle with growing debts and high interest on credit.

Tel Aviv municipality is not a publicly traded entity and hasn't issued bonds, with bank loans of 1.4 billion shekel. The credit rating received by the municipality is usually reserved for companies that issued bonds which has increased the transparency in the city budget and the confidence of residents and financial institutions.

Maalot anticipates that Tel Aviv's municipal property tax revenues will grow by 5% a year between 2013 and 2016. Well balanced income and expenditure management led to higher rates of property tax collection and annual operating surpluses. A weakness noted by Maalot was short term financial planning in international comparisons and not enough long-term budgeting plans.

Another weakness noted by Maalot was Tel Aviv municipal workers' pensions obligations, totalling 6 billion shekel - or 144% of the expected anual operating income in 2014, higher than average by international comparisons.

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