2017 Preliminary Financial Results
The Comptroller’s Office has begun to close the year on 2017 in preparation for our independent audit and ultimately the release of our financial statements which will occur in May. While some changes to both expenditures and revenues is anticipated, we have a good idea of how we will finish out the year. Three out of four major funds, Highway excepted, will see a surplus from 2017 activities.The General Fund will once again end the year with a surplus. Conservative budgeting of volatile revenue sources has resulted in the following positive variances: Mortgage Tax ($509,000), County Sales Tax ($130,000), Building Permits ($178,000), and Planning Board Inspections ($252,000). These economically dependent revenue sources have mirrored the upturn in the national economy, helping to ensure an overall surplus for the General Fund.
General Fund Expenses are on track to end the year at or near the overall budget of $20,675,000. Large expenditure categories such as Employee Benefits and Personal Services are all within 1% of their total budgets for the year. Another category that was well controlled in 2017 was legal expenses, which for the first time in many years has come in under budget. Final adjustments and or payments may adjust the total positively or negatively, but overall expenditures will be right around the budgeted amount.
Higher than anticipated funding from NYS Dot for road paving operations will help the Highway Fund slightly exceed budgeted revenue for 2017. Though, poor weather conditions in the beginning of 2017 have caused over expenditures in certain related budget lines for 2017: Snow Removal OT ($33,000), Salt ($26,000), Highway Department OT ($40,000) will all finish the year over budget. These over expenditures combined with small surplus revenues will result in an overall deficit for 2017.
Higher than anticipated revenue, (+$210,000) and lower than expected expenses (-$200,000), will ensure a budget surplus in 2017 for the Refuse fund. Refuse Collection ($13,000), Transfer Site Charges ($48,000), and reduced Equipment Repair costs ($30,000) have helped provide the positive budgetary variance on the expense side.
Water Fund revenues will finish 2017 at or near the budgeted total of $8.87MM, driven by strong General Metered Water Sales finishing within 1% of budget. Significant budgetary savings were realized when the anticipated work on the Delaware Aqueduct never materialized. As a result the Town was not required to operate the Croton Back Up pump, saving approximately $520,000 in expected electrical costs. Also well below budget was the cost of raw water, savings over multiple budgets lines is in excess of $300,000. Overall, the Water Fund will see a surplus from 2017 operations.
2018 Tax Pre-Payment Information
When the governor signed the order allowing municipalities to accept pre-payments the Town of New Castle, like most municipalities, was caught off guard, and unable to process the tax payments through our tax collection software. The town created a system where we tracked payments manually, and held that information in a separate file. The main drawback of this was the inability to provide an official tax receipt at the time of payment, but it was the best we could do on short notice. We have now downloaded the software patch and will be working over the next week to upload the pre-payments into our system. Once that process is complete we will begin mailing receipts to those residents that made pre-payments. We hope to have the receipts distributed in the first week of March.