WHITE PLAINS, NY — Westchester County effectively managed its sewer district budget by keeping a close eye on expenses, a recent audit by the New York State Comptroller’s Office shows.
Auditors reviewed consecutive sewer district budgets – the county’s $130.7 million budget in 2015 and its $130.3 million budget in 2016 – and determined the County adopted structurally sound budgets and adequately monitored expenses throughout the year.
“We commend County officials for effectively managing the sewer districts’ financial condition,” the auditors wrote. “Effectively managing financial conditions ensures the County will provide adequate services on a continual basis.”
There are 13 sewer districts in Westchester that are made up of seven water resource recovery facilities (treatment plants), 42 pumping stations and 194 miles of mains, pipes and trunk lines in its system.
“We’re working hard to deliver essential services and critical infrastructure along with responsible budgets,” County Executive Robert P. Astorino said. “This audit of our sewer district is another example of how we’re keeping a close eye on all expenses and remain committed to fiscal discipline.”
In addition to effectively managing Westchester’s sewer districts, the County Executive has not raised the property tax levy in the general fund for seven years, and is committed to an eighth straight year with no tax increase.
The audit of the County’s sewer districts follows a report released earlier this year that showed the County kept taxes flat, maintained a high credit rating and ended the 2016 fiscal year with a $1.5 million surplus. Called the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), the 260-page document included an analysis of county finances along with important information on revenues, debts, reserves, demographics and economic conditions in Westchester County.
As a result of careful attention to both sides of the ledger, the county was able to end 2016 with a $1.5 million surplus, while simultaneously keeping taxes flat and paying down debt, which dropped by $83 million, or 7.5 percent, to $1.02 billion. Westchester has the highest credit rating of any county in New York, which translates into lower borrowing costs.
When the County Executive releases his 2018 budget proposal in November, it will not include a property tax levy increase.