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State Comptroller Visits Plattsburgh To Discuss State Fiscal Condition And City Fiscal Profile

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WAMC/Pat Bradley
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New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli was in Plattsburgh today. He met with business leaders during a breakfast forum to discuss the region’s economic status and introduce a seminar on venture capital investment. He then met with the mayor to unveil a positive fiscal report for the city.

Comptroller DiNapoli had two morning meetings with members of the Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce. The first was a breakfast forum to broadly discuss the work of the comptroller’s office and present an overview of economic indicators for the region. He described the second as focused on the in-state private equity investment program and small business financing.  “Many people haven’t heard about these programs, no matter how hard we’ve tried to get the information out. So by coming here we hope to not only give out information, but more importantly build relationships. Have people spread the word about these opportunities to access capital. It’ll make money for the pension fund and hopefully grow businesses and economic development here in the North Country
 
The state’s chief fiscal officer was also visiting Plattsburgh to present the 2014 fiscal profile for the city. The comptroller’s office has developed a fiscal stress monitor for communities, and DiNapoli noted that, compared to other municipalities in New York, Plattsburgh’s status is very positive.

The report found a stable population has bolstered property values, the city’s taxable full value of property increased slower than other cities, and when declines began across the state in 2009, Plattsburgh’s continued to increase. The city’s median home value is higher than the statewide average. City revenues are increasing, allowing it to grow the rainy day reserve.  “What’s clear from our report is that Plattsburgh has avoided many of the fiscal stress issues plaguing other upstate communities. A number of factors have played to the city’s advantage:  proximity to the Canadian border, home to a state university and government offices, and an expanding manufacturing industry.”

DiNapoli added that while the city has avoided many fiscal stresses, there are challenges.  “There are some red flags. These certainly include some socio-economic issues that pose a challenge here in Plattsburgh as they do in many of our older, smaller cities across New York.”

Mayor Jim Calnon found the crucial part of the profile to be its assessment of the city’s fund balance. Going forward, he wants to formulate a more stable budget without relying on the fund balance.  “We did amass and use our fund balance to really keep our tax rate down. That’s probably going to be our focus, being sure that ultimately we have a budget that is in fairly stable balance as opposed to relying on either building or depleting a fund balance.”

While in Plattsburgh, DiNapoli learned that Onondaga County Comptroller Republican Bob Antonocci will run against him. The incumbent Democrat says he welcomes the challenger.  “We want to have competition, that’s what our democratic process is all about. I feel I have a very strong record in terms of what we’ve done to promote taxpayer accountability, manage the state pension fund, restore integrity to the office. I came into office because of a cloud created by my predecessor. So I’m looking forward to a thoughtful debate on the issues. People will get to know him better and his positions. I think competition is good. It’s healthy and I’m anticipating a great victory this November.”

A link to the 2014 Fiscal Profile for the City of Plattsburgh is available here.
 

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