The latest news from the City includes an important update to the Department of Public Works COVID-19 operational plan and the City of Saratoga Springs 2019 FYE Report & April 2020 Covid-19 Fiscal Update from Commissioner Michele Madigan.
FROM THE CITY:
The latest news from the City of Saratoga Springs includes an important update to the Department of Public Works COVID-19 operational plan, detailed below in a press release from Commissioner Scirocco and the City of Saratoga Springs 2019 FYE Report and April 2020 Covid-19 Fiscal Update from Commissioner Michele Madigan.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FOR CONTACT: Michael Veitch
April 23, 2020 (518) 545-8652
DPW COVID-19 Update:
Workforce Under Routine Operations - Normal Transfer Station Hours
Saratoga Springs, NY – Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco provided an updated today on the Department of Public works COVID-19 operational plan. The DPW crews returned to routine working hours, providing services to the public while following social distancing guidelines and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). DPW dispatch hours have been extended Monday through Friday 7am to 10:30pm. In addition, the transfer station has returned to normal hours of operation, 8am to 3pm, Tuesday through Saturday.
“After just a few days of the DPW crews being emergency on-call you could see the service these essential employees provide on a daily basis. Returning to routine operations with social distancing in place allows DPW to serve the public safely,” said Scirocco. “Normal operations at the transfer station will assist the public, as will the newly extended hours of DPW dispatch.”
DPW continues to request that residents ensure lawn and leaf debris piles are organized and manageable with large limbs cut into 3 foot or smaller sections. Debris in plastic barrels can be dumped into the street and paper lawn bags are still acceptable. Residents with questions, or who need assistance, can contact DPW dispatch at 518-584-3356.
Utility Bills Due Date Extended to June 15th
Scirocco also provided information on the first quarter water and sewer bill due dates. These utilitiy bills, that were initially due on May 15th, have been extended for an additional thirty days for a new due date of June 15th. After June 15th late penalties will be applied, but the extension provides additional time for customers to pay in consideration of the econmic impacts of COVID-19.
“From an economic standpoint this is a tough time for everyone and extending out the due dates was an opportunity to give a little bit of breathing room while personal finances are so uncertain. The new due date for utility bills is June 15th,” said Scirocco.
MEMORANDUM - OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FINANCE - CITY OF SARATOGA SPRINGS
MICHELE MADIGAN - COMMISSIONER OF FINANCE
For Immediate Release: April 23, 2020
Contact: Commissioner of Finance, Michele Madigan | Telephone: (518) 587-3550 ext 2577; (518) 526-9377 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Re: City of Saratoga Springs 2019 Year End Report and April 2020 Covid-19 Fiscal Update
Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan reports that 2019 City general fund (operating budget) closed out the year with a strong fund balance and nominal operating deficit.
Unaudited year-end figures show a $16,758,000 fund balance; about half of this is restricted and half is freely available. This equates to 17.32% of the operating budget, well within the required 10% -25% range. The annual operating deficit for 2019 was $856,000, about 1.8% of the 2019 budget.
Of note is NYRA Admissions Tax, which came in 40% below 2018 as a result of a change in NYRA’s calculation methodology. 2019 amounts received were $429,000; 2019 amounts budgeted were $723,000 (in line with amounts received in 2018). We continue to work with the County and NYRA to better understand NYRA’s revised methodology. “The amount received in 2019 is equivalent to amounts received in 2011. Admissions are up, but the tax is down considerably. The City provides fire, police, ambulance, water, sewer, traffic, and beautification services in order to properly host the yearly meet. I believe the City requires a more equitable distribution of this tax in order to maintain our high-level of visitor and citizen protection services,” states Commissioner Madigan.
“With excellent policies and practices in place, the City ended 2019 at a strong advantage to face the unprecedented 2020 pandemic. My years of financial discipline, preparation, budget and reserve building have provided us with a much better foundation than many coming into the current situation,” states Madigan.
Actual 2019 revenue collected totaled $46,261,134. Actual 2019 expenditures totaled $47,117,479. “The City did good job managing its current budget while considering future needs. These skills will prove beneficial in the months to come.” said the Commissioner.
The City is now in the process of reviewing its 2020 budget for adjustments that will be required in the face of a potential $14 to $16 million, or 29% to 33%, loss of general fund revenue. Sales and occupancy tax collection have already shown substantial decreases compared to 2019. State aid revenue sharing, parking ticket revenue, NYRA general admissions tax, casino rentals, building permits, and property tax collection are all at risk. The City has researched the option of waiving late fees and penalties for property tax bills, but it has confirmed that only the NYS Governor may do so during a State of Emergency.
Commissioner Madigan has asked each department to scour its budget for reductions, cuts, and re-purposed funds. Looking for a 10% budget rollback “will require a new outlook, revised priorities, and discipline.” Madigan has great faith that “this Council has what it takes to make it work.” This is coupled with the “Hiring and Spending Freeze” requested by Madigan to the City Council on April 10, 2020.
“Every expense must be considered very carefully, against the long and short term City sustainability, the needs of our taxpayers, and most importantly, the health, safety, and welfare of our citizens. We are beginning from a position of strength, and will do what is best for the City of Saratoga Springs.”
Two presentation (the Preliminary Annual Report and Covid-19 and City Finances) were made by Commissioner Madigan on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at the City Council meeting, and can be viewed on at http://saratogaspringsny.swagit.com/play/04212020-1102
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From New York State and Governor Cuomo:
Here’s what else you need to know tonight:
1. The preliminary results from the state’s antibody study are in. The survey developed a baseline infection rate by testing 3,000 people at grocery stores and other box stores over two days in 19 counties and 40 localities across the state. The preliminary results show 13.9% were positive for COVID-19 antibodies. As more detailed results come in we will share them.
2. The State Department of Health is partnering with Attorney General Letitia James to investigate nursing home violations. Nursing homes are directed to immediately report the actions they have taken to comply with all state and federal directives and guidance to the Department of Health (DOH). Those that are not complying with DOH guidelines could be fined $10,000 per violation or lose their operating license. NYS has taken extraordinary measures to protect vulnerable nursing home residents — from mandatory temperature checks of staff to a ban on all visitors — and we must hold accountable nursing homes that are flouting the law.
3. Are you concerned that a family member of yours isn’t getting proper care in a nursing home? If so, we encourage you to file a complaint by calling 833-249-8499 or by visitingwww.ag.ny.gov/nursinghomes.
4. Total hospitalizations continue to fall. There were 15,021 total hospitalizations yesterday — the tenth consecutive day of declines. Tragically, although fatalities have also fallen, we still lost 438 New Yorkers yesterday to Coronavirus. By all standards, that is a heart-wrenching loss of life, and we continue to mourn each and every New Yorker who has been taken by this virus.
5. We will partner with places of worship to help ramp up testing in African-American and Latino communities. The new initiative will use churches and places of worship as a network to reach communities that have been disproportionately impacted by Coronavirus. Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Representative Yvette Clarke and Representative Nydia Velázquez are partnering with us on this effort.
6. New York State will provide child care scholarships to essential workers. Child care costs will be covered for essential staff whose income is less than 300% of the federal poverty level — or $78,600 for a family of four. Essential workers (including health care providers, law enforcement, food delivery workers, grocery store employees and others) can use these scholarships to pay for their existing care arrangement. If an essential worker needs child care, they can contact their local child care referral agency to find openings.
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