Auditor says county finances in great shape
By Holly Crocco
A review of Putnam County’s finances found its books to be in great shape.
“The administration and finance [department] have done a great job,” said Neal Sullivan (R-Carmel) during the legislature’s July 24 Audit Committee meeting. “Revenues are higher than they budgeted for and our expenditures are lower than they budgeted for.
“In the business world, any time you make more money than you plan and you spend less money than you budget, your profits are that much higher and you’re very happy,” he said. “That’s the financial picture here at the county.”
Putnam County used less money in 2016 from its fund balance than anticipated, Nick DeSantis, a partner at PKF O’Connor and Davies, which the county hired to complete the audit, told the committee. In 2015 the county allocated $7.7 million from the fund balance to balance the 2016 budget but never ended up using the money. In addition, thanks to adjustments made at the state level, Putnam saw a $5 million increase in sales tax.
The county also only used a portion of its potential “taxing authority,” according to DeSantis. In 2016, the county under state law could raise as much as $201 million, based on real estate valuations. However, it only levied $40 million.
“It speaks to the overall good financial condition of the county, and that should be reflected with the rating agencies when you go for a bond rating,” said DeSantis. He said some municipalities in New York and across the country run into problems in which they don’t have enough taxing power to provide services.
Putnam was recognized for complying with the rules and regulations set forth by the Government of Accounting Standings Board. “It’s something you should feel very proud of because only a few municipalities in the state of New York get this award,” said DeSantis.
To view the report, see putnamcountyny.com/finance/2016-cafr.