Mayor: $6M budget surplus prove Albany plan is working
ALBANY -- "We put a plan in place three and a half years ago and this surplus demonstrates that the plan is working,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.
With a smile outside of city hall, Mayor Kathy Sheehan discussed Albany's unaudited results for 2016 showing a $6 million surplus -- the first since 2012.
Sheehan credits the savings to reduced spending on things like snow removal, worker's comp, retirement, and employee healthcare. But the mayor warns that much of the surplus is due to one-time events.
"They're not going to happen year after year after year, so we have to ensure that we have the funding that we need that's fair,” she explained.
Sheehan fought for state aid to help balance the 2017 budget. The city was awarded $12.5 million in funding and the mayor says without it, they would've had a $6 million deficit rather than surplus. But a common council member and mayoral candidate says a recent report contradicts Sheehan's numbers.
"To go from a $23 million deficit to a $6 million surplus in a matter of a few weeks raises a red flag,” said Frank Commisso Jr.
Commisso is referring to an independent, state-funded report that outlines a projected $23.5 million deficit. He says he wouldn't trust the unaudited numbers from Sheehan's office -- and questions why they'd be released now.
"To have some numbers now come mid-year I think is certainly concerning to many folks when you show a $6 million surplus now. I think it calls into question the ethics and competency of the folks in city hall and I think it opens up certainly a line of critique that they're using a line of political manipulation. After all, these figures are unaudited, they did come from within City Hall, and they did come from the mayor's own neighbor who is the treasurer,” Commisso said.
Sheehan responded to Commisso’s comments on the independent report in a statement:
"The PFM report praises the leadership team I've built at City Hall and validates the work we've done to put Albany on a sustainable fiscal path. We've already implemented a number of the report's recommendations, which contributed to the 2016 surplus. Mr. Commisso, Jr. continues to misrepresent the report's findings."