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City of Poughkeepsie Releases Audited Financial Statements for 2018 General Fund, Deficit Declined by More than $6 Million over Three Years

City of Poughkeepsie officials today released audited financial statements for 2018 reflecting a sharp decline in the City’s General Fund deficit, from approximately $13.2 million at the end of 2015 to approximately $7.1 million at the end of 2018. Auditors also found the City’s General Fund cash position has improved by $1.8 million since the end of 2017. The audit was conducted by RBT CPAs, LLP.

Mayor Rob Rolison said, “This is the third consecutive year the City has out-performed when it comes to the important function of managing to our revenue and expense projections. The City’s Deficit Reduction Plan is a three-pronged approach toward rebuilding our fund balance by unwinding inter-fund receivables and payables, limiting non-essential borrowings, and crafting realistic budgets each year.”

Auditors found that the City’s receivables, funds it is owed by others, increased year-over-year, and recommended that the City complete a comprehensive inventory of all its assets to ensure they are not being understated on its balance sheet.

City Administrator Marc Nelson said, “When Moody’s Investors Service removed the City’s negative outlook in July, 2017, they said that further bond rating increases could result from a declining deficit and improving liquidity. We’ve checked those boxes and many more. The City has established reserve accounts for snow removal emergencies, employee benefits and judgment and claims, it has reduced its self-insured retention from $1 million to $500,000,  closed its transit fund which had operated at a deficit for years, and built a multi-year record of successful and timely collective bargaining outcomes.”

Finance Commissioner William Brady said: “In addition to the very favorable audit findings, the City’s debt-service costs drop by more than $1 million next year. It would not be overstating things to say that we are witnessing one of the most remarkable turnarounds in a local government’s financial condition. Being a part of this work is the high-water point in my long career in public service.”

Read the full Audited Financial Statements Here:

About RBT CPAs, LLP

RBT CPAs, LLP has offices located at 11 Racquet Road, Newburgh, NY; 2678 South Road, Poughkeepsie, NY; and 51 Sullivan Street, Wurtsboro, NY.  RBT provides accounting, auditing, tax and business consulting services to clients in the greater Hudson Valley, as well as in other areas of New York State, Connecticut and New Jersey.

City of Poughkeepsie Books 2017 Surplus

City of Poughkeepsie Books 2017 Surplus

A 2017 Year-end Surplus in the City’s General Fund will reduce the City’s Deficit by $852,000

The City of Poughkeepsie announced today that it will realize a surplus in its General Fund for 2017 in the amount of $852,000. This second consecutive year of favorable financial results will further reduce the City’s deficit to $11,052,729.

Mayor Rolison said: “Strong fiscal management brings not only the reward of lowering our deficit, but it also attracts much-needed development to our City. It boosts the confidence that our stakeholders have in City government, which translates into more grants and stronger partnerships. We must smartly leverage opportunities when they come calling because the steps we take today assure our City’s successful future.”

City Administrator Marc Nelson said: “In 2017 the City adopted a Debt Management Policy, improved policies and procedures, and addressed a number of critical infrastructure projects that had been deferred for years due to fiscal constraints. Improving the responsiveness of local government requires that we provide the resources City departments need to accomplish their jobs. For two straight years the Mayor’s annual budget has found the right balance between fiscal restraint and necessary spending.”

The City faced a deficit of $13,061,925 in January of 2016.

In July, 2017 Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the City’s financial outlook from negative to stable.

City Adopts Formal Debt Management Policy: Tightens Policies & Procedures

Working with our financial advisors, Capital Markets Advisors, LLC., and finance consultants funded by a shared-services grant awarded to the City by Dutchess County in 2016, the Finance Department presented the Common Council with a new formal debt management policy which sets limitations on general fund borrowing, and identifies new benchmarks to strive for over the next several years, as the City works to address its negative fund balance. The Common Council adopted the new policy on October 16th, 2017.

Outgoing Commissioner of Finance, Marc Nelson, said: “I’d like to thank the Council for its favorable action, as well as the Finance Committee – Councilmen Lee Klein and Mike Young – for its work on this. The Constitutional Debt Limit applies to all New York municipalities, but the City of Poughkeepsie must do even more to ensure its debt-service costs decline. This policy outlines our plan to curtail borrowing, seek refunding opportunities in favorable markets, and improve the City’s bond rating”

Read the Debt Management plan here.

Audited Financial Statements for Fiscal Year 2016 Released: Surplus to go to Deficit Reduction

The City ended 2016 with a surplus of $874,000, which will be applied to reduce the cumulative general fund deficit. In addition, the City was able to pay-down $400,000 towards a deficit of $1.2 Million in its separate Transit Fund, reducing that deficit to approximately $800,000. The consolidation of the City’s bus system with Dutchess County Transit, which is projected to save taxpayers between $300,000 and $500,000 annually, will lead to the elimination of the Transit Fund as the remaining transit deficit is paid-down.

The favorable results in 2016 have reduced the general fund deficit to $11.9 Million. At its high, just before Mayor Rolison took office, it stood at $13.1 Million.

Late in 2016, as the 2017 budget was being crafted, the administration also made the decision to include a specific budgeted amount for deficit reduction, something which had never been done before. Although the amount, $225,000, was small in comparison to the deficit, it sent a strong message to City stakeholders and other interested parties that the City is serious about aggressively attacking the deficit.

At this point, as we enter the fourth quarter of 2017, management projects a 2017 surplus of about $569,000. That number is exclusive of the budgeted $225,000 which has already been earmarked to be applied against the deficit. While these are preliminary numbers, the City’s deficit could be reduced by a further $794,000 when the 2017 results are finalized.

City Receives High Marks for Final FTA Triennial Review of Transit Operations

The 2017 FTA Triennial Report, expected to be the City’s final compliance audit by FTA, was released on August 29th and may be viewed here. The most comprehensive of the FTA review processes, the Triennial Audit was last conducted in 2014.

For the years 2014-17 covered by this report, the FTA found no deficiencies in 16 of 17 categories. The lone finding was a weakness relating to the procurement of outside services insofar as there was no written policy on one minor section. Working with the FTA’s team, the Finance Department was able to address that issue before the Final Report was issued. Marc Nelson, Acting City Administrator said “This report is such a welcome acknowledgement of the real effort which was made by many city employees to maintain the highest level of transit service for our citizens during a very challenging period for the City. I would especially like to acknowledge our DPW and Transit staff, as well as Karen Sorrell – Deputy Commissioner of Finance – for their work throughout these years and for their professionalism during the review period itself.”