Purpose of Budget Review
The purpose of our budget review was to determine whether the significant revenue and expenditure projections in the City’s 2023 proposed budget were reasonable.
The City of Newburgh, located in Orange County, is authorized by Chapter 223 of the Laws of 2010 to issue debt not to exceed $15 million to liquidate the accumulated deficit in the general fund as of December 31, 2010. During the time that Chapter 223 is in effect, the City’s proposed annual budgets must be submitted to the State Comptroller for examination and recommendations.
- The City’s use of approximately $4.4 million of fund balance to close gaps in the budget decreases the fund balance that is available to cover unforeseen circumstances.
- The City has also appropriated approximately $3.2 million of sewer fund balance and appropriated $587,250 of fund balance for the water fund. The water fund only has $261,871 of fund balance to appropriate. Therefore, the City would have a $325,379 budgetary shortfall in the water fund.
- The City should refrain from including the $1.1 million revenue and corresponding expenditures in their 2023 adopted budget for the New York State Touring Route Program because there is no assurance the State will appropriate additional money for this program in fiscal year 2023-24.
- The City could potentially face shortfalls based on revenue estimates for sanitation user fees, sewer usage and sale of metered water.
- Budgeted overtime funding for police $850,200 is likely underestimated by a total of at least $384,000.
- The proposed budget does not include a contingency appropriation in the general fund.
- The proposed budget does not include a tax overlay, which could potentially create a revenue shortfall in 2023.
- The proposed budget includes a tax levy of $23,630,768 which is $16,086 from exceeding the tax levy limit.
- Develop a plan to maintain fund balance at a reasonable level to ensure funds are available in case of unanticipated expenditures or a shortfall in revenues during the fiscal year.
- Review the amount of fund balance appropriated for the water fund and amend to the amount that is available. Review the estimate for sewer usage revenue and amend as necessary.
- Review the estimates for New York State Touring Route Program revenue and expenditures and amend as necessary.
- Lower the estimate for sanitation user fees and the sale of metered water or pass a resolution to raise the sanitation and water rates prior to the adoption of the budget.
- Review the estimate for police overtime and increase it to an appropriate level or implement changes in procedures to manage costs within budgeted amounts.
- Consider including a reasonable estimate for contingencies in the budget.
- Consider establishing a reasonable estimate for a tax overlay in the budget.
- Adopt a budget that includes a tax levy no greater than the tax levy limit (tax cap) unless a local law is adopted to override the limit.