The City of Plattsburgh’s $22 Million Dollar Budget takes more work to whittle down every year than you might think.. and this year, getting under the tax cap may prove to be more of a challenge than in years past..”We always want to be below the tax cap, obviously our goal would be to reduce expenses even further but that would be difficult.” Commented Plattsburgh Mayor Jim Calnon, “We really have to understand what drives a budget up because obviously that’s what you need to fix. If you adjust the garbage bag liners, that may result in dozens of dollars but the bigger items can have a large effect on the overall budget.”
Mayor Calnon presented the City Council with a new style of budget report which in years past been created by the state as part of their mandatory reporting requirements.. but that’s no longer the case and the report does well for looking at the big picture.. Essentially, the report and the work the council is doing now to get a better handle on the revenue and expenses will go a long way towards negotiating the final budget proposal in the 4th quarter.. The unrestricted fund balance at years end will be about $235,077… For perspective, that balance in 2010 was $5,171,157…. Mayor Calnon says the $5 Million however, isn’t reflective of the norm in the city.. “The Balance was low prior to the $5 Million but it grew because labor contracts weren’t being signed and we were expecting increases and then started saving money to pay for them when they came.”
The City ran a general fund surplus in 2010 and 2011 but in 2012 and 2013, overspent by about a million dollars.. and in 2014 the deficit is projected to hit $2,278,714.. In order to stay under the tax cap, the council will have to bring the deficit spending to just about zero AND then find spending cuts to offset contractual increases in health Insurance and other bigger ticket items..
Mayor Calnon says this new report provides a reasonable Boundary which right now is at about 12% but keep in mind they’ve really just begun the process and it won’t be until September when the Mayor presents the proposed budget but the work has already begun..