The Fiscal Stress Monitoring System provides:The System has two main components:
- An early warning of fiscal stress to local governments and school districts by examining their financial information and aspects of their external environment; and
- Feedback to local leaders, State officials and taxpayers about fiscal stress conditions to help them prioritize the needs of their community, understand trade-offs and follow through with tough decisions.
Financial indicators evaluate budgetary solvency, the ability of a locality to generate enough revenue to meet expenses, by measuring:According to the fiscal stress monitoring system used by the State Comptroller, in 2013 the Town of New Hartford stress level was 0%; in 2014, the stress level was 3.3%; in 2015, the stress level was 9.6%.
- Year-end fund balances
- Operating deficits/surpluses
- Cash position
- Use of short-term debt for cash flow
- Fixed costs (evaluated for local governments only)
Environmental indicators capture trends that influence revenue-raising capability and demands for service:
- Property values
- Dependence on revenue from other government units (which can be highly variable)
- Constitutional tax limits
- Sales tax revenue
Going Up?For 2016, based on the three year trend, the State Comptroller's office is estimating the stress level of the Town of New Hartford will be 13.9%.
Since 2013, New Hartford appears to tripling their stress level each year. Given that the 2016 figure is only an estimate (2016 is not yet over and the reports to the NYS Comptroller are not due until May 2017), it might not be long before all the "juggling" and "borrowing" from funds will not be sufficient to keep the town above water.
Incidentally, for the record, borrowing between funds with a different tax base has to be paid back in the year that it is borrowed; you would think that a CPA would know that.
I can't help but wonder where the town's stress level and the tax rate would be if all budgeted expenses and revenues were applied to the proper fund and all the "borrowing" was paid back in accordance with town law.