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.
NOTE: Please be advised that credit card payments for 2015 Tax Liens cannot be accepted via this system after 4:30 pm on 12/11/2017. Credit card payments of 2016 Tax Liens or 2017 Property Taxes including School Taxes, cannot be accepted via this system after 4:30 pm on 12/12/2017.
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE THAT, in accordance with the provisions of Section 14.21 of the administrative code of the City of Poughkeepsie and Section 3533 of the Education Law, the undersigned Commissioner of Finance, acting as City Treasurer of the City of Poughkeepsie, publishes the following list and statement of parcels of land charged with unpaid taxes, unpaid city school district taxes, delinquent water and sewer rates, penalties and interest remaining unpaid on the 15th day of November 2017 and hereby gives notice that on the 13th day of December 2017 at ten o’clock A.M. in the Common Council Chambers, Third Floor, City Hall, Civic Center Plaza, Poughkeepsie, NY , each of the parcels of land hereinafter described will be sold at public auction to discharge the aforesaid unpaid taxes, delinquent water and sewer rates, penalties, interest and expense of sale, which shall be due thereon at the time of sale. The grid number is in accordance with the official City of Poughkeepsie tax mapping, and is the official description.
On the day and at the time and place stated above, the Commissioner of Finance, acting as City Treasurer, will commence the sale of said parcels of land and will continue the sale from day to day until all parcels shall be disposed of.
The purchasers shall pay the amounts of their respective bids to said Commissioner of Finance, acting as City Treasurer, immediately after each parcel shall be struck off, and upon failure to do so, the said Commissioner shall forthwith offer the parcel for sale again. The proceedings for the sale of any parcel of land may be stopped at any time upon payment of the amount due upon it.
In the event that any property listed herein is involved in a bankruptcy proceeding, then the applicability of this publication of notice of tax sale shall be subject to the provisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
William J. Brady
COMMISSIONER OF FINANCE
ACTING AS CITY TREASURER
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.
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.
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.”
Each year in August/September, the City’s Finance Department, in consultation with all City Departments, city stakeholders, engineering consultants and our grant-writers, prepares a five year forecast which charts a course forward for major city projects and purchases. From new Fire equipment, such as a $1 Million Dollar ladder truck, to replacement vehicles for our City police force, from major infrastructure projects such as roof-replacement at the sewer plant to repairs to the City Hall roof, the Capital Plan is a roadmap for future projects. Importantly, the Capital Plan sets forth our current thinking about how these projects and purchases will be funded, the order in which they may be undertaken, and the duration of time we anticipate each project taking. The annual Capital Plan is merely an outline, as unforeseen emergency repairs and other capital expenditures may occur despite not being known. Funding may become available that is only eligible to be spent on a certain type of project, elevating one project ahead of another despite it possibly being planned as a lower priority.
We encourage public comment on this plan at an upcoming public hearing, the date for which will be set by our Common Council and posted here in the near future.
Mayor Rob Rolison said today that the City of Poughkeepsie will end 2016 with a projected surplus in its General Fund of $544,000. “This positive news shows the impact that cost-containment and careful monitoring of expenses throughout the year has, and why we should not transfer savings from any particular expense line to some other expense category mid-year. It’s the fiscally responsible decisions we make during the year that lead to good news at the end of the year.”
City Commissioner of Finance Marc Nelson said “We realize there is a lot of work still ahead of us, but this is an encouraging result for a year which could have gone either way until the very end. City Departments did an extraordinary job of managing to their budgets and adapting throughout the year”.
The favorable 2016 result will effectively reduce the City’s cumulative general fund deficit from $13 Million to $12.5 Million. Additional cost reduction and restructuring initiatives, including the upcoming consolidation of the City’s bus system with the County transit system, are projected to save taxpayers up to another $500,000 annually.
“Fiscal stabilization is a gradual process, but it’s the key to much of what is so important to us all, from public safety to clean streets and thriving businesses. When we manage our City finances well, we are rebuilding our ability to address the daily concerns of our citizens, and we are building a more strategic and responsive city government.”
The City of Poughkeepsie
Annual Sanitation Charges to be Billed Separately – Effective 2017
In 2013 the Common Council adopted a resolution changing the billing system for sanitation so that the charges were billed as a separate line on the homeowner’s annual tax bill. Although Former Mayor Tkazik vetoed the resolution on January 17, 2014, questioning the appropriateness of asking mortgage escrow companies to make sanitation payments on behalf of their customers, the Council overrode his veto and the change took effect in 2015. Typically mortgage documents do not authorize lenders to collect sanitation charges as part of their escrow agreements with property owners.
Since the change became effective, many of the predicted problems became reality. For the first year, caught unprepared, mortgage servicers did make the larger escrow payment. In turn, they increased homeowner’s monthly mortgage payment by adjusting their escrow. Later, increasing numbers of lenders declined to pay the sanitation charge (but may have neglected to tell their customers of that decision). This resulted in unintended delinquencies, and in late charges being assessed to homeowners. Rather than increasing the city’s collection rate on sanitation charges as was intended, the action created confusion amongst banks and property owners. Landlords who had previously passed sanitation bills along to tenants also found the change inconvenient and burdensome.
Because of the negative impact, I asked Mayor Rolison and the new Common Council to revert to the former billing system. That request may be viewed here, and was approved by action of the Council in November, 2016. A copy of the resolution may be viewed here.
Customers will now once again receive separate sanitation bills, which will be mailed in mid-February, 2017. Charges may be paid by mail, in person at City Hall, or online by clicking here.
Commissioner of Finance