Sherbrooke’s High Debt?

Media Appearances, Municipal Government, Frontier Centre

The City of Sherbrooke has high debt levels and is struggling to provide core services, states a new national survey. The Frontier Centre for Public Policy, a Manitoba-based think tank, just released the results of its first Local Government Performance Index: A Financial Analysis of 30 Canadian Cities. The study looked at 30 of Canada’s most populous centres; Sherbrooke being the smallest of the group.

Acknowledging that public information for Sherbrooke finances was sparse, the survey found that, in line with other Quebec municipalities, Sherbrooke has a relatively high city debt per household. At $3,153, that debt is 72 per cent above the national average.

The City of Sherbrooke also reported lower than average property taxes.

According to the survey, Montreal is the most indebted city in the country, having financial liabilities more than threetimes the national average.

But some financial analysts argue that one cannot compare Quebec municipalities’ debt ratios with their counterparts across the country, when so much development and infrastructure is paid for by Quebec municipalities, rather than by private developers and home buyers like elsewhere.