New Rochelle’s latest independent financial audit is – without a doubt – the most upbeat we’ve received since the onset of the Great Recession.
The City’s revenues last year exceeded projections by about $3.7 million, while our expenditures came in under budget by about $3.6 million. Together these positive variances contributed to a surging fund balance of more than $13 million – a significant financial cushion that will help stabilize our fiscal health going forward.
Also of note is the City’s historically low debt level. At $62.6 million, total government debt is the smallest it’s been in at least a generation and only about half of what it was just ten years ago.
These figures, combined with today’s exceptionally low interest rates, suggest that this is a particularly good time to invest in infrastructure and long-term capital assets. The City Council is committed to this priority, and I expect that our 2017 budget will feature a new, more ambitious capital budget framework.
The usual (and important) caveats apply. Like all cities, New Rochelle continues to face long-term fiscal pressures. Many vital investments and services remain underfunded. And, of course, many taxpayers are strained to the limit. For these reasons and others, economic growth and business development remain absolutely essential priorities.
But having coming through the dark fiscal tunnel of the recession and its aftermath, it’s a big relief to emerge finally into the sunshine.