Numbers are in and the City has finished Fiscal Year 2014-15 with a $7.8 million surplus.
“This is proof that we are managing the taxpayers dollars wisely and ensuring that we have a safety net in a worst-case scenario,” said Mayor Erin Stewart. “As we have seen over the last two years the rating agencies want to see progress and improvement made in our “rainy day fund”. To grow it by almost $8 million in one year is impressive.”
When Mayor Stewart came into office after former Mayor Tim O’Brien, she inherited a $30 million deficit that nearly bankrupted the City. O’Brien’s budget showed unrealistic numbers for revenue in the City. Some items were up to $1 million short of his projected revenues.
Stewart was forced to raise taxes just to keep the City stable and out of financial disaster. The Council also rescinded $19 million to prevent a take-over from the state.
The City had a BBB Rating from Standard and Poors and had to also fight against it being downgraded by five notches. This would not have not allowed the City to borrow money if an emergency situation occurred.
Stewart turned the financial situation around and this year New Britain received an “A” rating from Standard and Poors.
Now, Stewart has announced that the City is looking to be in excellent condition financially.
“This (the surplus) is due in part to us tightening our belts on many things – we have successfully reduced the city budget, and we are spending wisely,” said Stewart. “This is not to say we are out of the water though, we will be expecting large debt service payments in the coming years, so to have this saved will certainly help us in the future.”
Documents showed that from employee pensions and medical insurance, municipal insurance, sanitation and debt services were lower than expected.
Revenues from police specials, tax collections, state aid, debt premium and miscellaneous collections were higher than expected.
About $7.2 million of the surplus was due to the City spending less money.
“I think it is great,” said Alderman Willie Pabon. “We better save it for next year’s taxes. If we start the year with $7 million we won’t have to raise taxes next year.”
Monies were put in the General Fund. That fund now shows the total cumulative balance to be $12.8 million.
“It is my hope that the taxpayers of our city can feel positive that their money is in good hands,” said Stewart. “I said every penny would count. It certainly has.”