Comptroller: Schenectady County needs to be careful
Schenectady County has made it on to New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's list of municipalities that need to be wary of fiscal stress.
The latest update from the Comptroller's Office warns that Schenectady County is "susceptible to fiscal stress." This distinction is less severe than municipalities labeled as either facing significant or moderate fiscal stress.
“The increased number of municipalities in fiscal stress underscores the seriousness of the challenges facing local governments,” said DiNapoli in a statement. “By shining a light on the financial issues confronting our municipalities, we can jumpstart discussions at the state and local levels about fiscal stress so that corrective actions can be taken. There is a continued need for better long-range planning and honest conversations about how local governments operate when their regional economies, demographics and traditional revenue sources change.”
A breakdown on the evaluation of Schenectady County is available below.
Despite the warning, Schenectady County spokesman Joe McQueen noted that Schenectady County appears to be in a better fiscal position than Albany and Saratoga counties, which scored worse than Schenectady County.
"It’s difficult not to feel some stress when 84% of our budget pays for state mandated expenses," McQueen said. "[Half] of our property tax alone pays for our share of Medicaid, something that no other State in the Country passes on to their local municipalities in the way New York State does."
"Additionally our retirement costs have increased from $4.8 million in 2009 to $13.6 million in 2013," he added.
In the assessment by the Comptroller's Office, Schenectady County was faulted for recent deficits, a low rainy day fund and a small amount of cash on hand to cover its liabilities.
A full story will be in the Thursday issue of the Daily Gazette.
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