This week, the City’s independent auditors delivered their annual financial report, detailing New Rochelle fiscal position through the end of 2014. In their presentation to the Council, the auditors were more effusive than usual, hailing the City’s “great financial condition.”
That may be a little of an overstatement — our community is still wrestling with a range of fiscal constraints and challenges — but the news is still mainly good. Here are a few highlights:
• Sales tax receipts reached a record level, reflecting a rebounding local economy.
• The City achieved considerable operational savings, which boosted our fund balance to over 5% of our operating budget.
• Our overall government debt level continued a downward trend from roughly $111m a decade ago to about $71m today.
The financial report is another data point, like the City’s recent positive outook from Moody’s, that New Rochelle has finally emerged from the Great Recession and is now in much stronger shape. Even so, our budgets remain very lean, a variety of public services are strained, our capital and infrastructure investments are a small fraction of what they need to be, and many taxpayers are still struggling to pay their bills. This means fiscal responsibility and careful setting of priorities will remain vital going forward, and economic growth must continue to be a primary focus of City policy.