City of Saratoga Springs Reports $1.2 Million Operating Surplus for 2018


City of Saratoga Springs Reports $1.2 Million Operating Surplus for 2018

For Immediate Release: May 1, 2019
From the Office of Commissioner of Finance, City of Saratoga Springs, Michele Madigan
Contact: or 518-587-3550 ext 2577

Full presentation will take place on Tuesday May 7th at the top of the 7:00 pm City Council Meeting

Saratoga Springs, NY — Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan reports that for the seventh consecutive year, The City of Saratoga Springs closed the prior fiscal year in excellent financial position. Unaudited year-end figures reveal a 2018 annual operating surplus of $1.2 million, driven by a combination of increased revenue and lower-than-forecasted expenses. Commissioner Madigan stated, “I’m exceptionally proud of the City’s financial performance in 2018, as it reflects the collaborative, hard-working spirit currently imbuing City Hall. Despite increased personnel costs, a handful of underperforming revenue lines, and the costs associated with the lightning strike to City Hall this past August, the 2018 budget realized a surplus thanks to the strong performance of several departmental revenue lines and the continuing City-wide effort to keep expenses under-budget to the benefit of taxpayers. Additionally, the City benefitted from a strong local economy, which includes a record year for sales tax revenue. This surplus will roll into the City’s Fund Balance, and will ensure that City residents and businesses will continue to receive the exceptional and affordable services they have come to know, while the City remains fiscally well-positioned for the future.”

Actual 2018 revenue collected totaled $46.5 million, while actual 2018 expenditures totaled $45.3 million. “Each and every department did an exceptional job accomplishing goals on behalf of the community while managing their respective budgets. I commend each City Council member on their contribution to this achievement, and hope to see similar results in 2019,” the Commissioner stated.

For 2019, the City is required to have a General Fund unassigned, unappropriated Fund Balance between $4.7 million and $11.8 million. Unaudited figures indicate the City’s unassigned, unappropriated general Fund Balance as of year-end 2018 was $9.6 million, well within the required range. The City also has $3.2 million in restricted (also known as “assigned”) Fund Balance in the form of a retirement reserve, insurance reserve, capital reserves, and other miscellaneous reserves.

The Water Fund ended 2018 with an assigned, unappropriated Fund Balance of $3.1 million, which includes a 2018 operating surplus of $231,000. The Water Fund has reported an operating surplus in six of the prior seven years, meaning it is well-positioned to fund future projects or emergencies without sacrificing any resources or performance. The Sewer Fund reported an assigned unappropriated fund balance for 2018 of $2.0 million, which includes a planned 2018 operating deficit of $89,000 due to the increased costs driven by the County. Prior to 2018, the Sewer Fund reported a surplus in eight consecutive periods, allowing the fund flexibility to absorb the County-imposed increase without immediately passing the costs on to City’s sewer users. 

Similar to years past, Madigan states that she will continue to evaluate ways to maintain the stable tax rates while allowing the City to prosper. “Through the months-long budget process, the Finance Department aims to accurately predict the City’s revenues and expenses as effectively as possible while still providing flexibility to manage priorities or emergencies that can occur post-budget approval. I must admit, a lightning strike to City Hall wasn’t an emergency I had specifically planned for, but I do think it is illustrative of how prudent financial planning, along with the combined efforts of every department and employee, allowed the City to respond to that event by not only being operational within three days’ time, but maintain a budget surplus for the year. During my time in office I have kept the property tax rate stable while carefully managing the City’s various reserves, strategically utilizing the capital market to support  infrastructure needs at a low cost to taxpayers, and set aside funds in preparation of future expenses both planned and unforeseen.”

The City’s continued focus on its reserves over the last several years has contributed to its high bond rating of AA+ by Standard & Poor’s Rating Services and Aa2 by Moody’s Investor Services, and helped the City obtain low interest rates on bonds for capital projects.  

A full presentation will be given by Commissioner Madigan on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at the regularly schedule City Council meeting, starting at 7:00pm at the Saratoga Springs Recreation Center located at 15 Vanderbilt Ave.

Michele Madigan
Commissioner of Finance
City of Saratoga Springs

3 thoughts on “City of Saratoga Springs Reports $1.2 Million Operating Surplus for 2018”

  1. It seems like only yesterday, that we were twice entertained by the former city manager of Watertown, who promoted her own city’s charter as a means for us to become more professional in order to achieve greater financial prosperity. Unfortunately for her, she would follow the previous Watertown city manager to lose her position within the last five years.

    Our city is doing better than ever and better than expected by the deniers. Worth stating again – Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan, for the seventh consecutive year, reports that the City of Saratoga Springs in closing out another fiscal year is in excellent financial position with stable taxes and a AA+ bond rating that will lead to low interest rates for capital projects.

    A $1.2 million-dollar surplus ain’t hay, it’s something to congratulate our city Council for their continuing achievements.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Kudos to Commissioner Madigan on another great job! I’m not sure many people in our city realize all the goes into this job. In addition to doing the challenging math involved in developing a city budget, it requires innovative thinking as to new and creative ways to save money. Commissioner Madigan has kept our city on the cutting edge of some of these innovations. Thank you, Commissioner

    Liked by 1 person

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