According to a report by the Office of the New York State Comptroller, the City of Kingston had very little fiscal stress at the end of 2020, weathering the COVID-19 pandemic better than many other municipalities in the state.
Kingston received a fiscal stress score of 1.7 percent on a scale of 0-to-100 for the year 2020. That figure is even lower than the city’s score of 5 percent at the end of the 2019 fiscal year. In both 2017 and 2018 the city received a ranking of 6.7 percent. A lower number is preferable in the comptroller’s ranking system.
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System was introduced in 2013 to keep the public informed about their local governments’ economic health. The ranking system evaluates local governments on financial indicators, including year-end fund balance, cash-on-hand, short-term borrowing, fixed costs and patterns of operating deficits and creates fiscal stress scores. The latest report was released on Wednesday, September 22.
A municipality in New York State is deemed under significant fiscal stress if its score is 65 percent or higher; under moderate fiscal stress if its score is between 55 and 64.9 percent; and susceptible to fiscal stress if its score is between 45 and 54.9 percent.
Ulster County fared well in the State Comptroller’s report, with no municipalities, towns or villages even ranking as susceptible to fiscal stress. As a whole, Ulster County received a score of 6.7 percent.
The Village of New Paltz received a score of 10.0 percent, while the Town of New Paltz fared better with a 0.0 percent. Also receiving the lowest possible scores were the towns of Ulster and Woodstock. The Town of Kingston earned a score of 3.3 percent.
Both the Town and Village of Saugerties were among 173 local governments statewide that did not meet their filing deadline for the 2020
The City of Poughkeepsie, across the Hudson River in Dutchess County, leads the entire state in fiscal stress with a score of 78.3 percent.
In a press release on Friday, September 24, Kingston Mayor Steve Noble touted the recently-released report.
“The City of Kingston received a very low stress score, which clearly demonstrates how we as a city were able to weather the pandemic last year, and come out with strong financial standing,” Noble said. “I am proud to say that by utilizing sound budgeting techniques, coordinated planning, and our departments’ ability to stay within their budgets, we have been able to consistently improve our financial footing year after year during my time leading the City of Kingston.”
Kingston Comptroller John Tuey credited the city’s employees with helping keep the city fiscally sound.
“I’m pleased to see us continuing to track in the right direction on the NYS Comptroller’s scoring model, which takes into account key financial indicators that drive fiscal health,” Tuey said. “The entire City of Kingston team, including our elected officials, department heads, and staff, have been willing and able partners in achieving this outcome.”