The city’s audit for the budget year that ended last June shows continued progress. That was the word from City Hall this week, as Mayor Nancy N. Rossi touted the publication of the state-mandated review on deadline.
“The City of West Haven’s audit for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2020 highlighted continued fiscal responsibility and progress, while meeting. the state-mandated audit deadline of Dec. 31 for the first time in over a decade,” Rossi said in a press release this week.
The good news was the city ended the year in positive numbers, giving municipal leaders the cushion of added funds in case of an emergency.
“The city’s general fund ended the fiscal year with positive operations of $2.2 million, which boosted the fund balance or rainy-day fund to nearly $3.6 million. The city’s other major funds also fared very well, with the Allingtown Fire Department finishing with a $766,466 surplus and the Sewer Fund a surplus of $1.7 million,” the announcement said.
The fund balances of the Allingtown Fire Department and the Sewer fund increased to $1.9 million and $4.9 million, respectfully, according to the report. The audit credits a combination of increased revenue and decreased spending for the budget surpluses. The city’s long-term debt (bonds and clean water notes) decreased by $16.5 million during the audited period. The audit was conducted by Blum Shapiro of West Hartford.
Rossi was happy with the new numbers.
“I am thrilled that we were able to have the audit on time and I want to thank our City and Board of Education staff for their efforts making it happen—it is important to me and the city. This is the third consecutive audit with positive financial operations allowing us to build substantial rainy-day reserves. Certainly, the state-restructuring funds have assisted us greatly in our recovery but will phase out next year,” she said.
She noted the city made the changes requested by the Municipal Accountability Review Board during her tenure and those changes have borne fruit.
“The city has implemented necessary structural changes, responsible budgeting techniques, and fiscal accountability. Our efforts have resulted in a significant turnaround and recovery from the dismal financial situation the city faced just three years ago,” said Mayor Nancy Rossi.
She thanked other city leaders for their cooperation and hard work to give the city such a positive report.
“I want to thank our city and educational staff and the members of the City Council and Board of Education for their hard work, conscientious decision making, and support. Our work is not done but we have made great progress and are headed in the right direction,” she said.
Rossi took time to reiterate some of the positions she has taken in the past as proof the direction she has taken the city has been the right one.
“As I have stated in the past, West Haven needed to focus on and fix its fiscal situation before we could expect substantial development opportunities and the needed investment in our aging infrastructure. Just like any struggling household would respond, we made some difficult sacrifices and went without for a bit. Our efforts have been successful and now the city is in a position where we are seeing a flurry of interest from developers and investors,” she said.
She said the city has begun to roll out oits long-term plan to make the “necessary investment in our aging municipal infrastructure,” which includes our roads, bridges, sidewalks, parks and athletic facilities.
“Our priority will be to continue to market our city and grow our commercial grand list to stabilize our mill rate and make West Haven a better place to live and raise a family. Working with the state legislature to establish an Enterprise Zone, finishing the Allingtown revitalization, obtaining Special Taxation District status for the Haven, completing the new high school, and developing the Savin Rock Conference Center over the next year or so will be important for continued investor confidence, growing our commercial grand list and creating good paying local jobs,” Rossi concluded.