City of Yonkers – Budget Review (B17-6-11) By NYS Comptroller THOMAS DiNAPOLI

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NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli

YONKERS, NY — July 11, 2017 — The City of Yonkers Budget Review undertaken by the Office of New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli was released: July 7, 2017 — [read complete report – pdf]

Purpose of Budget Review
The purpose of our budget review was to identify issues which impact the City of Yonkers’ financial condition in the current and future years.

Background
The Office of the State Comptroller, as Fiscal Agent for the City of Yonkers (City), determined that the City’s adopted budget for fiscal year 2017-18 and the related justification documents are in compliance with the requirements of the Fiscal Agent Act (Chapter 488 of the Laws of 1976). The City’s 2017-18 budget totals $1.15 billion. The budget includes operating and debt service funding of $590.7 million for the Yonkers Public Schools (District) and $563.6 million for the City. The 2017-18 budget is $38 million more than the City’s budget for 2016-17, an increase of 3.4 percent.

Key Findings
• The 2017-18 budget relies on nonrecurring revenue, such as fund balance, to balance its budget.
• The City could potentially face a shortfall of approximately $1.7 million in revenue if income tax surcharges remain at 2016-17 levels.
• The City could potentially face a shortfall of $515,000 if revenue estimates from the Parking Violations Bureau are not realized.
• Police overtime costs could potentially be over budget by as much as $2.6 million based on the 2016-17 fiscal year overtime costs.
• The City plans to borrow up to $13 million for tax certiorari settlements in the 2017-18 fiscal year.
• Social Security tax payments are underestimated by approximately $828,000 in the 2017-18 budget.
• The City’s adopted budget does not include a contingency appropriation, which leaves the City vulnerable to unexpected events.
• With the 2017-18 budget, the City will have exhausted 93.21 percent of its taxing authority and the City’s ability to increase property taxes may be limited in future years if property values do not increase.
• Over the last 10 years, the City’s outstanding debt has grown 15 percent and the City’s debt service payments have risen 38 percent.

Key Recommendations
• Replace nonrecurring revenue, such as fund balance, in the 2018-19 budget.
• Pay tax certiorari claims from annual appropriations instead of using debt.
• Consider establishing a contingency fund to provide flexibility to deal with unanticipated or insufficient appropriations.

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Hezi ArisCity of Yonkers – Budget Review (B17-6-11) By NYS Comptroller THOMAS DiNAPOLI

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