Democratic Caucus of the Monroe County Legislature

Monroe County Finances Continue to Deteriorate

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Rochester, New York – July 23, 2013. Democrats in the County Legislature have completed their analysis of the recently released 2012 Monroe County Consolidated Annual Financial Report (CAFR). In line with analysis from previous years and the State Comptroller’s recent designation of Monroe County as facing Significant Fiscal Stress, the 2012 CAFR shows Monroe County’s finances continue to badly deteriorate.

Democratic Leader Carrie Andrews (D-Rochester) said, “As in years past, the Brooks Administration continues to stick its head in the sand and ignore the problems facing our County. By continuing to utilize one-shot revenue sources instead of transparently balancing the County’s revenues and expenditures, this administration has decimated the County’s financial well-being. The County’s total net assets from all activities have declined by more than 50% in the past eleven years and the trend line is steadily deteriorating. It does not require financial genius to see that this County is headed toward a financial disaster.”

The County reports that 2012 ended with a balance in the General Fund where the property tax rate is determined of $1,708,000. But, a careful review of the CAFR reveals that this fund balance was only accomplished by again failing to record in the General fund part of our pension costs to the State Retirement System. At the end of 2012, the County has deferred $31,411,000 of pension costs for 2010, 2011 and 2012. If the County had recorded its unpaid pension bills, the General Fund would have had a deficit of $28,028,000 at the end of 2012. These unpaid pension costs are real, must be paid over the next ten years and must be paid with interest.

The long term decline in the County’s financial position is abundantly clear; the County’s total net assets have declined by $144,964,000 just since 2010. The County’s net assets have declined by 56.6% since 2001, falling from $981,144,000. But if you dig into the numbers, the news is even worse. Without the federal stimulus money provided to the County from 2009-2011, the County’s total net assets would have declined by 64.4% since 2001.

Democratic Legislator Paul Haney (D-Rochester) said, “We have been warning about this rapidly approaching fiscal crisis for many years. We are not alone. Erie and Nassau counties have Fiscal Control Boards. Other counties are in serious trouble. The first step to solving this critical problem is to stop deflecting blame and hiding from our problems and admit that we have a serious problem on our hands. The second step is to begin a meaningful dialogue across the aisle and with the community about the problem and possible solutions. We must find some way to work together to stop this County from following in the footsteps of other failed municipalities.”