In a new credit report that reviews the financial planning and performance of the City, credit rating agency S&P Global Ratings improved and affirmed Branson’s stable long-term credit rating due to the proactive, cost-cutting measures the city took during the global pandemic, a time when the city’s primary revenue source was uncertain.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, S&P Global Ratings automatically downgraded many tourism destinations based on the fact that those particular places have an economic base that is concentrated in the tourism industry during a time when people couldn’t travel. In the report, which was released on November 5, 2021, S&P states that the city’s immediate actions and conservative budgeting approach resulted in “reserves and flexibility remaining stable during 2020 instead of the projected large deficit spending.” The report also states that due to the proper reserve balances and the updated tourism outlook that it “anticipates stability over the outlook horizon.”
This updated credit report means it will cost taxpayers less to borrow money if the City would need to bond future projects or additional capital by positively affecting the interest rates on future debt.
“We are very encouraged by this report,” said Finance Director, Jamie Rouch. “At the beginning of FY2020 the financial projections for Branson were extremely positive. By the end of March 2020, the COVID19 pandemic had hit and drastically changed the economic outlook for the entire city. As a result of quick action by the leadership team and staff along with the healthy reserves that were in place, the City of Branson came out of FY2020 in a much better position than originally anticipated at the start of the pandemic,” Rouch said.
The S&P Global Ratings report in its entirety can be found in the Financial section of the “Reports” page on the City’s website, BransonMo.Gov.