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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

City of Utica – Budget Review (B3-12-3)


Released: March 16, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our budget review was to determine whether the significant revenue and expenditure projections in the City’s tentative budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year are reasonable.

Background

The City of Utica is located in Oneida County. Our Office was requested to provide an independent evaluation of the City’s proposed budget for 2012-13.

Key Findings

  • The City needs to increase its appropriation for contingencies to provide more flexibility to address unforeseen events.
  • The City’s proposed budget includes speculative revenues of $1.8 million, and another $780,000 in revenues that it may not receive, or may have to repay.
  • The proposed appropriation for salaries may be at least $200,000 less than necessary.
  • The resources of the City’s Water Trust, which the City has used to help balance the general fund budget for several years, are nearly depleted.
  • The City’s Common Council voted to adopt a local law to override the 2 percent tax levy limit set by statute.

Key Recommendations

  • We recommend that City officials eliminate speculative revenues, carefully evaluate the possibility of losing (and repaying) grant moneys, and then adjust the budget as needed.
  • We recommend that City officials include additional moneys for a contingency appropriation and salary appropriations, and adjust the budget as needed.
  • We recommend that the Common Council consider revising the City Charter to establish a fund balance policy, and examine how best to preserve the resources that remain in the Water Trust.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email: localgov@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236