It was our first city council meeting and many things happened. You can see the meeting and the agenda here: http://saratoga-springs.org/AgendaCenter/City-Council-2
Here are the notes from Finance:
The first item on my agenda is Announcement: Deputy Commissioner of Finance
I received four resumes for this position and I spoke to all four candidates. In the end, I am pleased to announce Heather Crocker as my deputy commissioner. She brings with her experience working on grants writing and administration. She is smart and hard-working and conscientious and has worked with several members at this table. She’s excited about working with all the members of the finance and IT department and city hall staff. Welcome Heather!
The second item on my agenda is Remarks:
First order of business: I’d like to thank my wife, my son, my parents, my sisters, my in-laws and all family members, friends and volunteers for their tireless work and support in the campaign and beyond. I am honored and privileged to be in this position and I promise to give it my best.
I want to thank Michele Madigan, Deidre Ladd and the staff of the Finance and IT departments for their diligent work and contribution to getting us where we are today.
Second, I want to congratulate my new colleagues. I am looking forward to working with all the Commissioners seated at this table, their deputies and other appointments, our Supervisors and all our city employees who work so hard every day to ensure our city keeps moving forward.
My aim as the Finance Commissioner is to strive for greater civic engagement, accountability and transparency.
Last year our city underwent a review from the Office of the State Comptroller. It was an independent evaluation of certain aspects of the adopted 2021 budget. The main concerns in that report by Elliott Auerbach, the Deputy Comptroller of Local Government and School Accountability was that the council be mindful of revenue shortfalls based on estimated federal aid, State funding for Aid and Incentives for Municipalities and Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) aid which may not be realized. Furthermore, our fiscal stress in 2020 was up from a score of 5 to 16.7. Considering our economy is based on tourism and considering we were in the middle of the pandemic, this is not surprising. In fact, just for reference, anything under 45 is considered no designation.
45 to 55 is considered susceptible; 55-65 is considered moderate and 65 to 100 is considered significant.
Again, we were at 16.7. So we’re doing fine.
And in positive news, our recovery from the pandemic has been ongoing and our sales tax are making a strong comeback. The City receives its sales tax distributions from the County. The most recent distribution received covers through the end of November 2021
Our sales tax for Jan to Nov Year to Date are $13,528,311.34 ($13.5 million).
The news is excellent – sales tax is making a strong come-back, this in spite of the fact that the City is not yet hosting its full roster of public events. Sales tax through November does include a full summer of revenue, and is a good indicator of City financial health.
The City received 36.7% more in sales tax for Jan-Nov ’21 vis-à-vis Jan-Nov 2020.
And 11% more in sales tax compared to Jan-Nov ’19.
Our sales tax collection is over 2021 budget estimates which was $9.9 million. We have surpassed our budget estimates by about $3.5 million.
This is excellent news for the City fund balance as well as the City bond rating. A strong bond rating keeps interests rates down, which bodes well for our Capital Budget.
I will continue to provide a more detailed picture of our city finances in the coming weeks. We have good work ahead and I look forward working with everyone in moving our city in new directions.
Thank you Mayor. That completes my agenda.