City scores well on State Comptroller’s Fiscal Stress Initiative
Submitted by Billie Owens on May 9, 2014 - 12:25pm
In a monitoring system that has evaluated 2,300 local governments fiscal condition statewide, the City of Batavia has been ranked better than most cities across Western New York. Last week New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the completion of the initial scoring for all local governments and school districts in New York in the Fiscal Stress Monitoring System.
Last week the Comptroller issued Batavia a fiscal stress score of 0 percent for 2013, the lowest possible score. Other scores for fiscal years ending in 2013 that were released last week included Buffalo (15.8 percent), Corning (15.8 percent), Olean (11.7 percent), Rochester (20 percent), Syracuse (34.2 percent) and Watertown (9.6 percent). Other Western New York communities included the cities of Canandaigua (1.7 percent), Geneva (28.8 percent) and Oneonta (15.8 percent).
The system uses a 100-point scale to classify whether a municipality is in significant fiscal stress (65 to 100 percent), in moderate fiscal stress (55 to 65 percent), is susceptible to fiscal stress (45 to 55 percent), or no designation (below 45 percent).
“This confirms that the City has and continues to take the necessary steps to ensure the City is on solid financial footing,” said City Council President Brooks Hawley. “Building a solid financial foundation has been a priority in the City’s Strategic Plan and provides the City with the ability to accomplish more in the future, and build a stronger community long-term.”
The Fiscal Stress Monitoring System was created by the Office of the State Comptroller to identify local governments and school districts that are in fiscal stress as well as those showing susceptibility to fiscal stress. The Fiscal Stress Monitoring System is based on financial information provided to the Comptroller’s Office by local communities and uses financial indicators that include year-end fund balance, cash position and patterns of operating deficits, to create an overall fiscal stress score. To date the Comptroller’s monitoring system has identified a total of 142 municipalities in some level of fiscal stress. This includes 16 counties, 18 towns, five cities, 16 villages and 87 school districts.
The City of Batavia’s Strategic Planning process is the foundation from which the City’s Business Plan for services and annual budget are based. The intent of the Strategic Plan is to allocate City resources to best meet the needs of our residents, while balancing the environmental factors that may affect the City in the future. The City’s reassurance that they were on the path to financial recovery was seconded in July 2012 when Moody’s upgraded the City’s bond rating from “A2” to “A1."
Third Ward City Councilmember John Canale, and a member of the City’s Audit Advisory Committee, shared his thoughts on the City’s score, “Once again we have received confirmation that the City is headed in the right direction financially. I think accomplishments like this only contribute to the City’s efforts to improve services, strengthen our infrastructure and provide greater opportunities for Batavia.”
The Audit Advisory Committee was established to provide oversight to the financial and compliance reporting process and external audit process. The Committee will be responsible for meeting with the auditors prior to the audit, reviewing risk assessment, reviewing the draft financial statements and making a recommendation on acceptance of the external audit reports to the City Council.
Residents interested in applying for the Audit Advisory Committee can obtain an application from the City Clerk’s Office or can visit our Web site at www.batavianewyork.com/Files.