posted on September 23, 2013 20:34
City of Batavia News Release
In a presentation to City Council on Monday September 23rd, Freed Maxick auditor Laura Landers, praised the City’s sixth straight year of strategic financial management and continued progress. Landers addressed City Council as part of the City’s year-end review
Highlights from Lander’s presentation included the continual progress the City has been making in becoming more financially stable. The City completed its sixth consecutive year of the general fund revenues exceeding expenditures and both water and sewer funds continue to maintain healthy cash balances. Landers also mentioned the City’s commitment to building reserves for future capital improvements.
“Another year of successful operations is a significant win with the City of Batavia,” said Jason Molino, City Manager. “After facing six years of tough decisions and thorough planning, City Council’s due diligence and conservative budgeting has helped create a stable foundation for the City to complete the important capital improvements, like the Richmond Ave./North St. paving project that was completed this year.”
Third Ward City Councilmember John Canale, a member of the City’s Audit Advisory Committee, shared his thoughts on the City’s financial improvement:
“Once again this year, we receive confirmation that the city is headed in the right direction financially. This year's financial audit reinforces the actions that city management and City Council have taken and continue to take to create not only a positive cash flow, but the ability to accomplish major infrastructure improvements, and much needed capital equipment purchases, while at the same time building our reserve funds for future city-wide improvements and emergency needs. The financial future of this City is looking very bright.”
Fourth Ward City Councilmember Pier Cipollone, also a member of the City’s Audit Advisory Committee, supported the City’s efforts with the following comments:
"The audit report continues to show the progress we have made over the past 6 years. The financial health of the City forms the foundation for everything we need to do as we move forward, from infrastructure improvements to providing needed services. I look forward to working with Jason and City Council to continue this trend.”
In 2006 Freed Maxick’s presentation of the City’s financial position was significantly different than it is today. At the time the City ran a general fund deficit of almost $1.2 million and had a negative fund balance of $2.2 million. Furthermore, the City’s water, sewer and ambulance funds continued to experience operating deficits for years prior.
The City’s financial position began to show signs of improvement when in June 2011, Moody’s Investor Services affirmed the City’s “A2” bond rating and assigned the City a “positive outlook”. Moody’s assignment of the positive outlook acknowledged a modest financial position by specifically identifying City management’s ability to restore financial health, establishment of specific reserve funds , negotiated manageable settlements with three of its unions, which included wage freezes and healthcare concessions and the adoption for the City’s Strategic Plan.
The City’s reassurance that they were on the path to financial recovery was seconded in July 2012 when Moody’s upgraded the City’s bond rating from “A2” to “A1”. The upgrade reflected the City’s improved financial position marked by five consecutive years of operating surpluses as well as the City’s practice of conservative budgeting of both revenues and expenditures.
“What makes this past year’s accomplishments so unique is the fact that we identified Financial Health as goal in the City’s Strategic Plan three years ago, and improving the bond rating was a major objective,” Molino continued. “Achieving that particular goal will now lay the ground work for the City to achieve future successes in other priorities such as economic development and neighborhood revitalization.”
The City of Batavia’s Strategic Planning process is the foundation from which the City’s Business Plan for services and annual budget are based. The intent of the Strategic Plan is to allocate City resources to best meet the needs of our residents, while balancing the environmental factors that may affect the City in the future. The City’s Strategic Plan identifies seven Strategic Priorities: Financial Health, Governmental Efficiency, Economic Development and Job Creation, Neighborhood Revitalization, Environmental Sustainability, Public Safety and Healthy and Involved Community Members. The Strategic Plan has developed a performance measurement system, by identifying 24 Key Intended Outcomes (KIO’s), to measure annual results of City initiatives against the Plan.