November 15, 2012
Bob Smith, Laborpress Albany Bureau
The City of Schenectady faces an unstable financial future, similar to other cities experiencing fiscal stress, Schenectady has struggled to balance its budget, has limited resources to finance future needs and minimal cash available to pay current liabilities. However, recent tax base growth and commercial expansion in the city’s downtown corridor have begun to offset some of these financial issues.
“The ongoing efforts of the mayor and city officials to achieve cost savings and encourage economic growth have started Schenectady down the path to recovery,” said DiNapoli. “But the city still faces a number of challenges.”
Although the city’s population has experienced a recent uptick, the Comptroller’s report found that Schenectady’s unemployment rate remains above the statewide average for all cities; its median household income is well below the statewide median; and an increasing number of families are living below the poverty line. The city also has a higher-than-average incidence of vacant housing units and continues to suffer from unpaid property taxes.
In September, Moody’s Investors Services downgraded the city’s bond rating, citing a worsening financial position for fiscal year 2012 and beyond. Moody’s rating reflected the amount of delinquent real estate taxes and rising expenditures in the city, as well as above-average debt burden and below-average socio-economic indicators.
The city is planning to achieve $2.3 million in cost savings for the upcoming 2013 fiscal year through retirement incentives ($1.3 million), Job consolidations and staff reductions ($1 million). Schenectady also intends to gain $1 million in revenue through the sale of property seized through tax foreclosures.