Amsterdam mayor: City working on fixing 2021-22 budget after Comptroller’s review

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AMSTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10)- An agreement that allowed Amsterdam to borrow $8.3 million to close a budget deficit in 2019 gave the New York Comptroller’s Office license to review the city’s proposed budget. Amsterdam Mayor Michael Cinquanti said he is thankful for the New York Comptroller’s review of the city’s 2021-22 proposed budget.

The Comptroller’s Office released a 10-page assessment of Amsterdam’s budget with eight key findings and recommendations on May 7.

“Based on the results of our review, we found that certain significant expenditure projections in the
2021-22 proposed budget are not reasonable and other matters that require City officials’ attention,” the report said.

Mayor Cinquanti told NEWS10 the Comptroller gave the city 10 years to pay back the $8.3 million but his goal was to have it paid in three. He also said the oversight has helped catch mistakes in the budget and he’s grateful for the review.

“I’m thrilled with the fact that the Comptroller’s Office is doing what they are doing and it’s been helpful,” the mayor said.

Key findings

  • Certain significant revenue and expenditure projections in the 2021-22 proposed budget are not reasonable
  • The proposed general fund budget includes estimated revenues of $975,000 for Federal-aid expected to be received through the Federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 but there is no date when the funds will be received or what they can be used for
  • Proposed budgets for the general and recreation funds are not structurally balanced because they include subsidies from other funds to finance their operations
  • Inadequate money set aside for debt service, health insurance, Social Security, and Medicare taxes
  • Money set aside for personal services, contractual expenditures, and employee benefits between the operating funds were estimated using unsupported allocation methods
  • Not enough funds set aside for refuse and recreation to provide adequate flexibility for unanticipated costs
  • Potential increased salary and wage costs due to the expiration of collective bargaining agreements
  • The city’s proposed budget tax levy of $6,059,017 is within the tax cap

“It’s nice because we can address those problems,” Mayor Cinquanti said of the findings.

The mayor said the city has made improvements managing its expenses and the Comptroller’s recommendations will be used to improve the budget process into the future. He also said the city is working on fixing mistakes that have been carried over from previous budgets.

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