By Dave Warner

The Office of the State Comptroller released an updated report on the City’s financial status last week, following up on their June 2021 report. At that time, the city had been given 90 days to develop a corrective action plan.

This year, they conducted an Audit of the City “To determine whether the Common Council (Council) and officials adopted realistic, structurally-balanced budgets; routinely monitored financial operations; and took appropriate actions to maintain the City’s fiscal stability.”

“Our follow-up review was limited to interviews with City personnel and inspection of certain documents related to the issues identified in our report. We also reviewed the City’s corrective action plan (CAP) for the audit, which was approved by the Council on September 7, 2021,” they stated.

They went on to say, “While the City has experienced a change in leadership since the 2021 audit, seven of the eight Council members who were present are still on the Council.”

The report also contained a financial update showing deficit fund balances as of December 31, 2023.

Figure 1: Reported Deficit Fund Balances as of December 31, 2023 
Fund Deficit Fund Balance 
General $2,250,121 
Water 504,745 
Golf 29,800 
Total $2,784,666 

According to Mark Johnson, Press Secretary with the New York State Comptroller’s office, “Our June 2021 Financial Condition audit found the Council and city officials did not adopt structurally balanced budgets, properly monitor the city’s financial operations or take appropriate actions to maintain the city’s fiscal stability. While the audit’s recommendations were intended to help city officials address the city’s significant fiscal stress, officials did not take meaningful actions to implement the audit’s 12 recommendations and the city’s financial condition continued to decline.”

“These types of audits are not legally binding, but citizens can hold officials accountable by commenting at public meetings, voicing their concerns, as well as voting,” he stated.

Johnson said, “The audit follow-up should be viewed as a tool that the Council and city officials, as well as taxpayers and citizens, can use to help improve the city’s financial situation and financial management practices.”

Mayor Deborah Kaufman sat down with Ralph Renzulli for his show ‘The Inside View‘ to explain the report and what it means for the City.