Auditor: Putnam on Strong Footing

Legislature hears reassuring report about finances

By Holly Crocco

A “glowing” audit of the county’s fiscal standing by the PFK O’Connor Davies firm was presented to the county Legislature at its July 24 Audit Committee meeting.

Partner Nick DeSantis explained that the county earned a certificate of achievement in financial reporting from the national Government Finance Officers Association.

“I’d like everyone to know that in the State of New York, excluding the City of New York, there are 57 counties; there are only nine counties that received this award, and Putnam is one of them,” he said. “So this is a big kudos to the county of Putnam, as well as the financial staff for putting together the information.”

DeSantis added that the certificate helps in any borrowing the county may wish to do “because the rating agencies look favorably upon any municipality that can compile the information that you compiled and present it for evaluation.”

He complimented the county on its borrowing practices, pointing out that it does not rely on tax anticipation notes or revenue anticipation notes. “It’s important to note that you do not have any short-term liabilities [debt],” he said.

Outstanding bonds total $57.9 million, with principal and interest estimated at $6.9 million.

“I’d like everyone to know that in the State of New York, excluding the City of New York, there are 57 counties; there are only nine counties that received this award, and Putnam is one of them,” DeSantis said.

According to another partner, Allan Kassay, the county’s unassigned fund balance is $21.9 million, which is about 16 percent of its 2019 budget. Since 2015, the fund balance has increased from $12.5 million.

“So it’s almost a $10 million increase over the past four years,” he said.

DeSantis added that the county’s financial managers did well, considering the recession that took place in 2008.

“As a result of you building up your fund balance to a level that enabled you to avoid short-term borrowing, you’re actually saving the taxpayers money because you’re not paying interest on short-term borrowing, so the short-term management of county resources has been handled very well,” DeSantis explained.

Transferring excess funds into a capital project fund instead of borrowing, thereby saving interest and issuance costs, added to the county’s strong fund balance and lack of short-term debt, he said.

Putnam has an Aa2 rating from Moody’s Investors Service, which is defined by “obligations judged to be of high quality and subject to very low credit risk,” said DeSantis.

When it comes to sales tax, revenue was up $4.5 million from the previous year, representing an increase of 7.6 percent, according to Kassay.

Legislator Neal Sullivan (R-Mahopac) commended the county’s finance team, led by Commissioner Bill Carlin Jr., as well as County Executive MaryEllen Odell.

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