ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – An annual report found two cities in the Capital Region are among the most fiscally troubled communities in the state.
The report from New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found the cities of Albany and Watervliet to be in some of the worst financial conditions – a warning for both cities to do a better job balancing its budgets.
“We’re moving in the right direction,” Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said. “It’s not a surprise.”
Sheehan believes the 2016 Fiscal Stress Score shows the city has more work to do. The city improved from the year before by decreasing 10 points, but the score still places it in the “Significant Fiscal Stress” category, which is the worst on the scale.
Sheehan said the score is a result of years of operating from the city’s fund balance.
“The city was deficit-spending every year and had run out of that fund balance,” she explained.
The city continues to regain and grow its reserve but not enough to improve its score. Even a $6 million surplus didn’t help, but Sheehan said Capital City Funding will.
“We were successful in 2017 in getting that $12.5 million as new money, and as we move forward, we’re looking to make that $12.5 million permanent,” she said.
Watervliet’s fiscal stress score increased nearly 15 points but is also in the “significant” category. City Councilman Charles Patricelli wasn’t shocked.
“I’m not surprised,” he said. “I kind of expected it.”
Patricelli said the city’s reserves decreased much more in the last fiscal year, and they haven’t come up with a plan to solve the problem. He hopes the score encourages some change.
“I’m hoping it’s a wakeup call,” he said. “I think we need to be able to come up with a plan. We have to develop something, and we have to develop it quickly.”
Watervliet Mayor Mike Manning told NEWS10 ABC the city is working with the comptroller’s office to improve the city’s finances, which includes completing an audit.
Two other communities were mentioned in the report. It found the Town of Fulton in Oswego County to be in Moderate Fiscal Stress and Colonie to be Susceptible to Fiscal Stress.