Peekskill Mayor Frank Catalina confirmed Friday that the final draft of the 2016 audit of the city’s finances has been produced by O’Connor Davies, the city’s independent auditors, and that it confirms what the mayor had expected: continued good news regarding the city’s financial health.
“After operating deficits totaling over $18 million in the six years before my administration assumed control of the city’s finances, we have now turned in our third straight balanced Operating Budget, and I am very proud of that accomplishment,” Catalina said. “On the day I took office, this city had an unrestricted fund balance of $7,500, not even enough to buy a set of new tires for one fire truck. Today, we have confirmed that the Unrestricted Fund Balance, which stood at $1,590,000 at the end of 2015, has risen to $2,760,000 as of Dec. 31, 2016. This is a sign that the pro-growth policies of this administration have turned around the doom and gloom financial picture of three years ago.”
Catalina aded that actual Unrestricted Fund Balance was $1 million higher, approaching $3.7 million, but that it is time the city direct its attention to neglected capital projects in the city.
To that end, Catalina, City Manager Richard Leins and Comptroller Ann Scaglione will propose to the Common Council a new budget line entitled “Committed Capital Projects,” with the $1 million of the above unrestricted balance to be placed there to fund substantial capital projects such as computer upgrades, equipment purchases and CDBG matching funds that have not been funded and are long overdue.
“According to our auditors and generally accepted municipal accounting principles, a ‘healthy’ fund balance should be approximately 5 to 12 percent of the city’s budget,” Catalina said. “For the first time in years we are in that range, but I will not rest until we are at the full 12 percent, or $3.5 million.”
Once O’Connor Davies gives the audit its final sign off, it will be delivered to the Common Council and posted on the city website. The mayor fully expects Moody’s review and is very hopeful the city’s bond downgrading, the latest of which occurred in 2013, will be substantially upgraded before the city goes to market for the bond to construct the Central Firehouse.”
More details on this and other news about Peekskill will be forthcoming in the mayor’s State of the City speech, scheduled for Monday, April 24.