NEWS FROM THE OFFICE OF

ULSTER COUNTY COMPTROLLER

ELLIOTT AUERBACH
ELLIOTT AUERBACH COUNTY COMPTROLLER 244 FAIR STREET KINGSTON, NEW YORK 12401 PHONE: 845: 340-3529 eaue@co.ulster,ny.us
www.co.ulster.ny.us/resources/comptroller

THE CURE FOR STRESS: FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY
ULSTER COUNTY COMPTROLLER RATES THE COUNTY’S FISCAL STRESS FOR RELEASE
KINGSTON, NY (November 2012)… In September 2012, the Office of the New York State

Comptroller (“OSC”) published a document entitled Proposed Fiscal Stress Monitoring System, the purpose of which is to help local governments in New York State identify and monitor their fiscal health and enable them to develop measures to avoid severe fiscal stress. Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach applied the “stress test” using the proposed rating system to Ulster’s financial data and determined that the County “rates high in overall fiscal health, a result to be applauded in times of such significant economic pressures,” according to Auerbach. “I wanted to respond immediately to the State Comptroller’s challenge and assure the People of Ulster that through sound leadership and oversight, our County rates very high in an objective standard of fiscal stress,” added Auerbach. The State’s system remains subject to comment and revision, a process in which Auerbach says he and his staff will also participate. But the results of the analysis are encouraging. Auerbach’s report does note some individual areas of fiscal stress which should be targeted for further analysis. According to Auerbach, “there are always areas where we can improve, and warning signs which allow us to prepare for crises. That’s the most important aspect of the exercise – we should be proud of our good stewardship, but we can never sit back and wait for circumstances to change – we have to control our economic destiny through constant vigilance. That’s what I believe the charge of the Comptroller’s Office is.” To follow up on that charge, Auerbach recommends that a team of representatives from his office, the Executive’s budget office, and the finance department, be assembled to perform quarterly analyses of the level of fiscal stress the County may be in, or may avoid through policy and procedures, at any given time. “Our goal is to be ahead of the curve at all times. The anecdote to fiscal stress is preparation. That’s what we’d like to see.” Auerbach believes the proactive approach can enhance the executive’s budget function, the legislature’s policymaking function, and the County’s creditworthiness and bond rating. The report can be found on line at www.ulstercountyny.gov/comptroller ###
The mission of the Ulster County Comptroller’s Office is to serve as an independent agency of the people and to protect the public interest by monitoring County government and to assess and report on the degree to which its operation is economical, efficient and its financial condition sound.

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