Poughkeepsie Common Council explores deficit reduction


Rolison (file): “… we’re not
going to get out of it overnight”

POUGHKEEPSIE – The Poughkeepsie Common Council Monday night discussed a Strategic Fiscal Improvement Plan for the city.
A study, which was conducted and presented to the council by Capital Markets Advisors, LLC, showed the city is still in a trying fiscal position, despite progress made from 2010-15.
James Nytko, who presented the plan to the council, said their main focus was not to have the city decide a course of action right away, but to provide options for moving forward.  Those range from land-banking, tax increases and asset sales, to consolidation of services, possible department cuts and deficit funding.
The main focus of the plan is to think of strategies to contend the city’s deficit position, said Nytko. As of the end of 2014, the city’s general fund faced an $11.1 million deficit, he said.
Currently, the city’s bond rating has been reduced from Baa-3 to Baa-1, a substantial, but not catastrophic, downgrade, Nytko said. Also, according to the Fiscal Stress Monitoring System, the city has been classified as being in “moderate fiscal stress.” However, this is something with which the city administration feels they can deal.
Mayor Robert Rolison and Nytko, suggest the fiscal status of the city is not a lost cause, but Rolison said it is important for the residents of Poughkeepsie to know what is going on.
“Currently this city is having a very difficult time sustaining government as we know it today and how we’re delivering services to the people,” said Rolison.  “We’re doing more with less. Our revenue and our expenses are, essentially, upside down. We need to find a way to bring those closer together and we also need to do a very good job of communicating these issues and these challenges to the public and the City of Poughkeepsie and when we start to do that and when people understand where we are and then develop plans to get us in a better position; we’re going to act on it.”
Rolison reiterated his stance that the city did not get to its current fiscal position overnight “and we’re not getting out of it overnight.”