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Sullivan continues to be free of fiscal stress

Posted 10/3/23

MONTICELLO — The NYS Comptroller’s Office has designated Sullivan County free of fiscal stress, with the County’s finances continuing to be in the best shape since reporting began.

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Sullivan continues to be free of fiscal stress


MONTICELLO — The NYS Comptroller’s Office has designated Sullivan County free of fiscal stress, with the County’s finances continuing to be in the best shape since reporting began.

‘No Designation’ Is the Best Designation

The Comptroller’s Office just released its 2022 Fiscal Stress rankings for municipalities Statewide, based on the annual financial reports submitted to the Office. Sullivan County scored better than ever, once again earning the best rank of “No Designation” (meaning there are no indications of the County being susceptible to fiscal stress at this time).

Municipalities receive a fiscal score and an environmental score. Based on the fiscal score, the system assigns a municipality to one of three categories of stress or to the “No Designation” category if its score doesn’t meet the threshold of stress. (The three categories of stress are “Significant Fiscal Stress,” “Moderate Fiscal Stress” and “Susceptible to Fiscal Stress.”)

“This latest report reaffirms that we continue to maintain County government’s fiscal stability,” Sullivan County Manager Josh Potosek said. “And for the third year in a row, we also received ‘No Designation’ for environmental stress, meaning prospects are excellent for the County continuing that stability.”

Another Significant Improvement in Rank

In 2019, Sullivan earned a Fiscal Stress score of 42.1 points. That improved to 35.8 in 2020 (a lower score indicating better finances), then to 13.3 in 2021 and now dropping to a best-ever 3.3 points. 

Meanwhile, the Environmental Stress score dropped from 30 in 2019 to 23.3 points in 2020, then 20 for 2021, and now stands at its own best-ever of 13.3 points. Unlike Fiscal Stress, the data used to create the Environmental Stress score – population changes, poverty levels, tax base, unemployment rates, state/federal aid and other items – represents issues that are not fully within the County’s control.

“Sullivan County was among the top fiscal performers in all of New York State in 2022,” noted County Treasurer Nancy Buck. “We nearly had a perfect score of 0 for Fiscal Stress, the only reason being that we had minor deficit in our 2020 budget (and none since). Everything else – how we managed our fund balance and cash flow, the state of our cash ratios, our complete lack of short-term debt, and rising revenues – put us in the top percentile Statewide.”

Legislators Weigh In

“Taxpayers demand a Legislature that understands their needs and, just as importantly, their limits,” Legislature Chairman Robert A. Doherty remarked. “The dollars they give us must be managed in a way that benefits them, not harms them. I think this report shows we’ve turned this County around, even in the wake of some pretty tough times. And we plan to continue on this fiscally sustainable path, to the benefit of taxpayers.”

“Long before this Legislature was in place, I was part of a team of legislators that kept our focus on proper use of taxpayers’ monies and competitive compensation for employees, all while managing a number of large projects, like the new Jail/Patrol Offices, and keeping afloat important services, like the Care Center,” said District 2 Legislator and former Legislature Vice Chair Nadia Rajsz. “While it’s good that we continue to do well financially, we need to provide better services to those who need them most in Sullivan County.”

“Last year saw amazing revenue growth in the County, and this year we may see even more incredible gains,” current Vice Chair and District 3 Legislator Mike Brooks observed. “I’m confident that, with the very experienced management team we currently have in place, we’ll ensure taxpayers’ funds are spent prudently and properly.”

“These latest State rankings prove we’re moving in the right direction,” added District 4 Legislator Nick Salomone. “I’ll continue to keep a watchful eye on our expenditures and also continue to encourage a fiscally conservative, future-oriented approach to budgeting.”

“Along with my fellow legislators, I give credit to Josh, Nancy and the rest of our County personnel. They keep taxpayers in mind by safeguarding public funds and using them where appropriate,” said District 5 Legislator and Management & Budget Committee Chair George Conklin. “This ranking dramatically illustrates that point.”

“This upward trend began a while ago, interrupted briefly by the COVID pandemic,” noted District 6 Legislator and former Chairman Luis Alvarez. “I am proud to have been a part of that upward movement for my entire time on the Legislature, and I thank Nancy, Josh and their teams for working with me and my colleagues to craft responsible budgets that have provided so much for the people of Sullivan County.”

“I’ve been a member of several Legislatures that have aimed to keep taxpayers first, recognizing that whether it’s grants, sales and room taxes, or fees, it’s all coming out of their pockets,” said District 7 Legislator Joe Perrello. “So I’ll continue keeping a close eye on how we’re spending their money.”

“Economic development decisions by past Legislatures have made significant differences in our room and sales tax revenues, which are largely responsible for this good news about our fiscal picture,” explained District 8 Legislator Ira Steingart. “Our good planning laid the foundation on which the current Legislature sits, and I’m proud to have been a part of that years-long effort.”

“Our current State ranking is a reflection of the sound fiscal positions this Legislature has taken over the past three years,” remarked District 9 Legislator Alan Sorensen. “I am beyond pleased to be ending my tenure as a legislator on this extraordinarily positive note.”

To access the Comptroller’s reports for the County and other municipalities and school districts, visit www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/fiscalmonitoring/index.htm.


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