Town Found to Have Zero Fiscal or Environmental Stress by Comptroller
The New York State Comptroller’s office reported on September 26 that its most recent Fiscal Stress Score for the Town of Brookhaven found that Brookhaven has the lowest possible stress in every category in the report for both fiscal and environmental stress thanks to the Town’s strong finances and conservative planning for the future.
The Fiscal Stress Score is based on current and future financial assumptions. It objectively identifies issues with budgetary solvency (the ability to generate enough revenue to meet expenditures) for each county, city, town, village and school district. Brookhaven scored a perfect 0 out of 100 points for both fiscal stress and environmental stress, continuing a decade-
long trend of lowering financial stress in the town.
“Since taking office in 2012, my administration and financial team have worked to strengthen the town’s finances through long-range planning, balanced budgeting and identifying new revenue streams while controlling property taxes,” said Town Supervisor Ed Romaine. “It’s one of the reasons why Wall Street rating agencies have regularly awarded Brookhaven a AAA bond rating – their highest rating, indicating that our Town is a sound investment.”
Municipalities rated as having Significant Stress are those that score 65 points or more. Moderate stress is indicated by a total score of 55 or Greater. Brookhaven received “No Designation” of Fiscal Stress with a fiscal score of 0.0, which had been reduced from a score of 3.3 in the previous two years, and an Environmental score of 0.0, a decline from 10.0 the previous year.
Deputy Supervisor Dan Panico said, “Brookhaven Town continues to lead the way forward with a perfect fiscal stress score that provides an objective assessment of our challenges. Our financial team has worked together to achieve exemplary results for our residents and proven with high marks from Moody’s Financial Services, Standard and Poor’s and now the New York State Comptroller’s office. Going forward, we will continue to meet the challenges within a transparent and honest level of government that offers results, not rhetoric.”
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli created an early warning system for communities and school districts with fiscal problems. These fiscal stress scores are based on end-of-fiscal year results and provide a measurement of local governments’ and school districts’ abilities to respond to the financial impact of the ongoing public health crisis.
Councilwoman Jane Bonner, who serves as the town board’s liaison to the Finance Department said, “I am proud to be part of a financial team that values conservative fiscal policies and consistently saves the taxpayer their hard-earned money. It’s what the people who live in my district have come to expect from this administration.”
According to the New York State Comptroller’s office, the Fiscal Stress Monitoring System is a program that objectively identifies issues with budgetary solvency — the ability to generate enough revenue to meet expenditures — for each county, city, town, village and school district. The system analyzes the financial information submitted to the comptroller by local governments against a set of uniform financial and environmental indicators. Key drivers of fiscal stress in local government financial operations include year-end fund balance, operating deficits and surpluses, cash position, use of short-term cash-flow debt issuance and fixed costs.
Environmental indicators give insight about economic and demographic forces confronting communities that are beyond the immediate control of local officials but might influence revenue-raising capability and the demand for certain types of services. These indicators include:
- Change in Population
- Households with Public Assistance
- Percent of Population Under 18 and Over 65
- Percent Change in Home Value
- Median Household Income
- Unemployment Rate
- Reliance on State and Federal Aid
Fiscal Stress and Environmental scores are important because they act as an early warning and provides valuable information to local leaders and citizens so that they are well-equipped to take a deliberate, long-term and strategic approach to managing local government. This information helps decision-makers and the public to prioritize the needs of the community, understand the trade-offs and follow through with tough decisions. Scores are provided once a year by the state comptroller which allows users to track stress trends over time, for individual local governments and for the entire sector across New York State.