Rochester, New York – October 10, 2014. Democrats in the Monroe County Legislature today released a report from the Brooks Administration which shows the county may end 2014 with up to an $8 million deficit. This is in addition to the State Comptroller’s recent announcement that Monroe County is still enduring “significant fiscal stress.” Out of the 57 counties in our state outside of New York City, Monroe has the second worst fiscal stress score—which means 97% of counties in New York are in better fiscal shape than Monroe. Furthermore, of 1,043 local governments included in the Comptroller’s analysis, Monroe County ranked third from the bottom.
“These reports confirm what we’ve been saying all along: Monroe County needs to get its fiscal house in order,” Democratic Leader Carrie Andrews (D-Rochester) said. “The reality is every county in our state faces the same mandates, so that’s not an acceptable excuse for the current situation. We hope that today’s report spurs local county leaders to reevaluate the course they currently have our county on and start working with us towards building a better future.”
According to the Comptroller’s report, Monroe scored 82.1% on the fiscal stress test. A score of 100% is the worst possible score. With a budget over a billion dollars, Monroe County ended its 2013 fiscal year with a General Fund unassigned fund balance of only $17,000 – which is only 0.0014% of its General Fund expenditures last year. The New York State Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) recommends that municipalities maintain a fund balance equal to two months of annual total expenditures. This means that the GFOA recommended fund balance for Monroe County is approximately $202 million—or $202,140,000 more than we currently have.
“This is what happens when budgets are balanced using accounting gimmicks and non-existent revenue,” Paul Haney (D-Rochester, Brighton) said. “We need long-term solutions to address the problems that have been glossed over by the current Republican majority. By showing that 97% of counties are better managed than Monroe, we hope that today’s report will serve as a wake-up call to our colleagues. The message is clear: this County is in more fiscal stress than any County in the State other than Rockland and we’re heading towards another year with another deficit and ultimate fiscal disaster. It is really ironic that long suffering Erie County recently had its bond rating raised two notches while Monroe continues to slide towards fiscal disaster. We need to have an open, straightforward conversation about how we’re going to fix this mess and not stick our heads in the sand while blaming mandates.”