Audit: San Diego’s Financial Condition ‘Strong’ Compared to Similar Cities

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Downtown San Diego at night. File photo

San Diego’s financial condition has stabilized over the past decade with steady improvement each year and is strong when compared to similar-sized cities, according to a new audit.

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The 51-page Performance Audit of the City’s Financial Condition by independent City Auditor Eduardo Luna found “continued and sustained strength in the city’s financial condition” compared to the last report in 2016.

“The city of San Diego’s financial ratios overall indicate consistent positive financial health from FY 2012 through FY 2016,” Luna concluded in the report’s summary. “The city’s financial condition has been among the best for the last 10 years when compared to six other cities with comparable populations.”

The cities used as benchmarks were Austin, Dallas, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, and San Jose.

“We have come a long way over the last decade to get San Diego’s finances back on the right track,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “I remain committed to the fiscal reforms that have resulted in a significant increase in core neighborhood services, a record pace for road repairs and the largest infrastructure investment in our city’s history.”

Luna analyzed 10 financial metrics designed to assess performance in four areas: financial position, revenues, debt and capital assets. The analysis included both short-term and long-term aspects of financial well-being and relied upon audited financial data published in comparable cities’ annual financial reports.

“Our analysis revealed that the 10-year trend from 2007 to 2016 is positive for all the city’s financial ratios, however, we identified some short-term changes that management should consider monitoring more closely,” Luna said, citing changes in liquidity, solvency and capital asset value, though performance in these areas remained strong.

In 2017, the San Diego’s credit rating was upgraded by Fitch Ratings, and in May, Standard & Poor’s placed the city on a positive outlook.

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