State Comptroller Takes Mt. Pleasant Off Fiscal Stress List
The Town of Mount Pleasant received some very encouraging financial news after the office of state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli recently announced that the municipality was removed from the state’s fiscal stress list.
This year’s list, which evaluated the financial condition of municipalities and counties statewide for 2013 based on information provided by Aug. 29, included 10 counties, seven cities, 17 towns and one village. Nearly all of the communities deemed to be in stress had low fund balances, operating deficits and limited cash on hand.
DiNapoli’s evaluation, which was released late last month, placed municipalities into one of three categories: significant stress, moderate stress and susceptible to fiscal stress. Last year’s report, which evaluated fiscal year 2012, placed Mount Pleasant in the susceptible to fiscal stress category.
Supervisor Joan Maybury said last week she was gratified the town was no longer considered to be a financially stressed municipality. She said a key reason Mount Pleasant and many other communities were placed on the list was the need to use reserves to balance the operating budget.
Mount Pleasant’s improved fiscal outlook was achieved largely through savings via layoffs and higher tax revenues due to the recovering economy, Maybury said.
The comptroller’s monitoring system, which debuted last year, evaluates local governments and counties based on 23 indicators to create an overall fiscal condition score. Indicators include the amount of cash on hand and patterns of operating deficits, in conjunction with broader demographic information such as population trends, poverty and unemployment.
“Clearly, New York’s local governments continue to face daunting challenges that strain their finances and are pushing them to the edge,” stated DiNapoli’s message that accompanied his office’s report. “Last year, I implemented this system to provide New Yorkers with an objective analysis to help them understand the economic and budgetary challenges facing their communities. These fiscal scores should serve as a starting point for frank discussions at the local level so actions can be taken before a fiscal crisis develops.”
This year no Westchester municipalities landed on the list. Rockland County and the Village of Suffern were evaluated as being under significant fiscal stress.