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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

City of Binghamton – City Operations (2015M-280)


Released: June 3, 2016 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to assess the City’s operations for costs savings and revenue enhancement opportunities for the period January 1, 2014 through May 21, 2015.

Background

The City of Binghamton is located in Broome County. The City, which has approximately 47,000 residents, is governed by a seven-member Common Council. The 2015 general fund budget totaled approximately $64.7 million.

Key Findings

  • Since at least 1999, the City issued debt to finance the purchase of items that are normally purchased with annual budget appropriations.
  • In 2014, the refuse fund’s revenues per capita were $19.52, while the respective expenditures per capita were $51.36.
  • Health insurance costs increased by approximately $1 million, or 12.2 percent, from 2012 to 2014.
  • Although City officials have established a capital assessment fee to help offset the cost of water debt issued, they have not established a similar fee to help offset the cost of sewer debt issued.

Key Recommendations

  • Evaluate the City’s debt and develop a comprehensive plan to reduce the outstanding debt or only issue debt when other funds are not available. If funds do not become available in the budget, City officials could issue short-term debt, such as budget notes or bond anticipation notes.
  • Continue to assess refuse operations and make changes, as necessary, to work towards the operations becoming self-funding.
  • Continue to periodically analyze their health insurance costs and compare alternate options for providing those benefits to employees and retirees in a cost-effective manner.
  • Discuss with the City attorney the possible establishment of a sewer capital assessment fee to help offset the sewer debt.

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