Financial Ratio Database

City of Norfolk

Financial Ratios Database as of June 30, 2020

Below are financial metrics that measure the City’s financial resiliency in several different categories for FY 2020.  Each of the metrics are reflected as low risk, moderate risk and high risk based on the colors green, yellow and red, respectively.  While there is room for improvement in some of the City’s metrics, this does not reflect financial hardship for the City.  The intent of this analysis is to measure the City’s ongoing progress for each metric as the City continues to strive for sustained, long-term financial strength.

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  1. Outstanding debt includes all outstanding General Governmental General Obligation debt.  Outstanding debt includes some self-supporting debt; therefore, this calculation does not align with the City’s debt management policies.
  2. Revenue growth benchmarks are based on inflation and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth over the same period.  The benchmarks for inflation & GDP growth will change from year-to-year and should be re-evaluated each fiscal year.
  3. Assumes a 7% discount rate.


  1. The City’s financial metrics (Debt as a Percent of Assessed Value, Unassigned General Fund Reserves, General Fund Reserves, Revenue Trends, Liquidity, Long-Term Liability Burden, and the four Pension metrics) are obtained from the City’s FY 2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
  2. The Poverty Line and Median Family Income metrics are obtained from the American Community Survey, under the U.S. Census Bureau.

The metrics are intended to reflect the following:

  • Debt Percent of Assessed Value – Measures the City’s debt burden relative to its tax base.  In general, a higher debt to assessed value percentage indicates a higher debt burden on the City and a lower debt to assessed value percentage indicates a lower debt burden on the City.  The City uses this ratio to determine affordability of future debt plans.
  • Unassigned General Fund Reserves – Measures the City’s current Unassigned General Fund Reserve that could be used to stabilize City revenues during periods of uncertainty relative to General Fund disbursements.  In general, the greater the unassigned reserve percentage, the more financial flexibility the City will have in periods of economic downturn or uncertainty.
  • General Fund Reserves – Measures total General Fund reserves, including the Unassigned General Fund Reserves previously referenced, the Risk Management Reserve, the Economic Downturn Reserve and the Inclusive Development Opportunity Reserve, as a percentage of General Fund disbursements.  These reserves can also be used to assist the City during periods of revenue uncertainty.  Like the Unassigned General Fund Reserves, the higher these reserve levels as a percent of General Fund disbursements, the more financial flexibility the City has.
  • Revenue Trends – Measure the City’s growth in General Fund revenue, which can be utilized to support City services.  In general, higher revenue growth indicates a growing economy and economic vitality in the City.
  • Liquidity – Measures the City’s General Fund cash relative to General Fund disbursements. In general, a higher liquidity percentage indicates more flexibility of the City to respond to unexpected expenditures as they have adequate cash on-hand to fund expenditures.
  • Long-Term Liability Burden – Measures the City total existing General Obligation debt and pension liability against the City’s aggregate personal income.  In general, a higher long-term liability burden indicates more pressure on the City’s tax base to afford outstanding liabilities while a lower long-term liability burden indicates less pressure on the tax base.
  • Pension Obligation – Measures the City’s existing net pension liability relative to its annual revenues.
  • Pension Funding (Total) – Measures the health of the Norfolk Employees’ Retirement System and the Virginia Retirement System with 80% typically view as financially strong.
  • Pension Funding (NERS Only) – Measures the health of the Norfolk Employees’ Retirement System with 80% typically view as financially strong.
  • Pension Cost – Measures how much the City’s annual pension cost comprises of the City’s annual revenue.  In general, a lower percentage indicates a lower impact of the pension costs on the total annual revenues, leaving additional revenues for other City uses.
  • Poverty Line – Shows what percentage of the City population is below the poverty line.
  • Median Family Income – Measure the City’s median family income in comparison to the United States.

 For information on the calculation of each metrics please see the following chart:

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For additional information or questions, please reach out to the City’s Department of Finance at