Forecast shortfall of $4 million but ‘well-positioned to absorb’
Putnam County received another favorable report from its external auditor, PKF O’Connor Davies, this time for 2019.
“The County of Putnam has once again received a certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting,” said Nicholas DeSantis, a partner with the firm, during the Legislature’s Aug. 24 Audit Committee meeting. “This is a continuing major accomplishment for the county. Not many municipalities in New York have achieved this level of award and transparency in their reporting.”
According to partner Alan Kassay, the county had a fund balance of $50.6 million at the end of 2019. Revenue from licenses and permits was down, as was state and federal aid, but sales tax revenue was up about $3.2 million, or 7.6 percent, from 2018. However, DeSantis noted, because of the COVID-19 shutdown, sales tax revenue in Putnam is down about 6.1 percent through the end of July, compared to last year.
“If that trend continues you will wind up with a shortfall of about $4 million,” he said. “But, fortunately for you, you are well-positioned to absorb that without any draconian measures in 2020.”
DeSantis also said the county has done well at managing its longterm liabilities. As of Jan. 1, Putnam had $57.9 million in outstanding bonds. Throughout the year it added another $3.3 million, but retired $8.4 million, leaving $52.7 million in debt.
“The county’s overall financial health is very, very strong — probably one of the better that we’ve seen in the lower Hudson Valley among our clients,” he said. “It’s due to good budgeting, good oversight and good management of the financial affairs of the county.”