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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

City of Yonkers – Budget Review (B19-6-6)


Released: July 10, 2019 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Budget Review

The purpose of our budget review was to identify issues which impact the City of Yonkers’ financial condition in the current and future years.

Background

The Office of the State Comptroller, as Fiscal Agent for the City of Yonkers (City), determined that the City’s adopted budget for fiscal year 2019-20 and the related justification documents are in compliance with the requirements of the Fiscal Agent Act (Chapter 488 of the Laws of 1976). The City’s 2019-20 budget totals $1.2 billion. The budget includes operating and debt service funding of $628.5 million for the Yonkers Public Schools (District) and $590.8 million for the City. The 2019-20 budget is $28.4 million more than the City’s budget for 2018-19, an increase of 2.4 percent.

Key Findings

  • The 2019-20 budget relies on nonrecurring revenue of $50.3 million, such as fund balance and State aid, to balance its budget.
  • Police overtime costs could potentially be over budget by as much as $3 million based on the 2018-19 fiscal year overtime costs.
  • The City plans to borrow up to $15 million for tax certiorari settlements in the 2019-20 fiscal year.
  • The water fund’s budget includes a $4 million transfer to the general fund for support services the City provides to the water fund. However, the water fund may be subsidizing the general fund for services not related to the water fund by as much as $3.7 million.
  • Over the last 10 years, the City’s outstanding debt has grown 5 percent and the City’s debt service payments have risen 8 percent. Although the City’s annual debt service obligation will decrease in the 2020 fiscal year, the City recently passed special ordinances authorizing the issuance of bonds up to $160.2 million with payments becoming due in 2020-21.
  • With the 2019-20 budget, the City will have exhausted 88.75 percent of its taxing authority and the City’s ability to increase property taxes may be limited in future years if property values do not increase.

Key Recommendations

  • Replace nonrecurring revenue, such as fund balance, in the 2020-21 budget.
  • Pay tax certiorari claims from annual appropriations instead of using debt.
  • Perform a detailed analysis to ensure that cost allocations charged to the water fund are related to operating the water system.

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