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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Press Releases

May 30, 2014, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

Comptroller DiNapoli: Positive Financial Indicators in Middletown

City Experiencing Healthy Growth in Population, Revenue

Improving economic conditions and positive budget trends have created a healthy outlook for the city of Middletown, according to a report issued today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The report is part of DiNapoli’s fiscal stress initiative and is the latest in a series of fiscal profiles on municipalities across the state.

“The city has developed into the economic engine of the region and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down,” said DiNapoli. “The proximity to New York City has enabled Middletown to develop a diverse economic base and experience a substantial increase in population. City officials have helped cultivate this environment through smart budgeting and an eye towards the future. While the city has typical urban challenges, Middletown should remain on solid financial footing as long as city officials continue to develop realistic budgets and long-term financial plans.”

DiNapoli’s report found, over the past decade, Middletown’s revenue growth has outpaced other cities in the state, climbing more than 57 percent during that time. In 2012, the city collected $44 million, the majority of which came from property taxes ($16.7 million), charges for services ($12.2 million) and sales and use taxes ($9.7 million).

Middletown’s population has risen in recent decades, unlike that of many of its upstate counterparts. The report noted the city had more than 28,000 residents in 2010 compared to 21,000 in 1980, an increase of 31 percent.

The city’s property values are also relatively high when compared with those of many other cities, although they have dropped in recent years. Middletown's median home value of $217,000 outpaces the $102,000 for the median city in New York. From 2002 through 2008, the city’s taxable full value skyrocketed 157 percent, nearly double the average growth in cities statewide. However, like many cities around the state, especially downstate, Middletown suffered a steep decline in total property value between 2009 and 2013, dropping from a high of $1.9 billion to $1.3 billion.

Perhaps most importantly, its steady growth in revenues has allowed the city to build up its rainy day reserves. The city’s available fund balance increased to $7 million in 2012 from $3.8 million in 2007.

The Comptroller’s fiscal profile of Middletown also noted:

  • The city’s 8.1 percent unemployment rate slightly exceeds the statewide average of 7.7 percent;
  • The property vacancy rate of 12.2 percent is higher than the statewide average of 10.8 percent;
  • State aid accounts for 7.3 percent of the city’s revenues, much less than the average of 18 percent for all cities in the state;
  • The child poverty rate (26.3 percent) is slightly below the average for the median city (28.4 percent); and
  • Debt per capita for the city ($2,300) is higher than that for the median city ($1,400).

Previous fiscal profiles issued by DiNapoli’s office include: Binghamton, Buffalo, Colonie, Elmira, Gloversville, Niagara Falls, Plattsburgh, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Rye, Salamanca, Syracuse, Utica, Watertown, White Plains and Yonkers.

The Comptroller’s fiscal stress initiative has included the creation of an ‘early warning’ fiscal stress monitoring system for municipalities and school districts.

Based on financial information provided to DiNapoli’s office by local communities, the Comptroller’s system evaluates local governments on nine financial indicators and creates an overall fiscal stress score. Indicators include fund balance, cash-on-hand and patterns of operating deficits. The scores are used to classify a local community as being in “significant fiscal stress,” “moderate fiscal stress,” “susceptible to fiscal stress” or “no designation.” The system also evaluates communities relative to environmental stress factors such as population trends, poverty rates and property values.

To date, DiNapoli’s monitoring system has identified a total of 142 municipalities in some level of fiscal stress. This includes 16 counties, five cities, 18 towns, 16 villages and 87 school districts. The city of Middletown is listed in the no designation category.

For a copy of the Middletown fiscal profile visit:
http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/pubs/fiscalprofiles/middletown.pdf

For more detailed information about Comptroller DiNapoli’s fiscal stress monitoring system and to view reports related to local government fiscal stress visit: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/fiscalmonitoring/index.htm

For access to state and local government spending and more than 50,000 state contracts, visit http://www.openbooknewyork.com/. The easy-to-use website was created by Comptroller DiNapoli to promote openness in government and provide taxpayers with better access to the financial workings of government.

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