Press-Republican

Local News

May 8, 2014

City gets sound fiscal report card

PLATTSBURGH — A deep look at the City of Plattsburgh’s finances shows a decent picture right now, but the work is never-ending, according to State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“Plattsburgh did not share anywhere near the level of fiscal stress that some communities have, and we will work to make sure they don’t,” he said at a news conference at City Hall on Wednesday morning.

DiNapoli delivered a report on the city’s finances as part of a statewide effort to establish fiscal profiles of all municipalities.

Plattsburgh rated fairly well, with positive numbers in taxable property values and revenues in the past decade.

STEADY GROWTH

According to DiNapoli’s report, Plattsburgh’s taxable value increased more slowly than other cities in the state from 2002 through 2008 — 49 percent compared to 79 percent — but it continued to increase when other cities began to decline in 2009.

Plattsburgh’s median home value is $139,000, while the median in cities across the state is $102,000.

Over the same period, the report said, the city’s revenues have grown 29 percent, to $47.4 million in 2012.

STABLE POPULATION

Population has also remained steady, with 19,989 residents in 2010 compared with 20,172 in 1960.

The population stability has helped bolster the city’s property values, the report says.

CONTROLLED SPENDING

The city has also held down spending.

From 2002 through 2012, revenues grew at an annual rate of 2.6 percent, while expenditure growth averaged just 2.1 percent.

The revenue growth and limited spending allowed the city to build up a healthy fund balance, which peaked at $5.2 million in 2010.

That fund balance has been tapped in recent years to keep taxes down in the wake of the newly implemented tax-levy cap in the state.

The fund balance was $1.9 million in 2012.

AREAS TO WATCH

While the city has experienced good numbers in recent years, the report also reflects some concerns.

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