Valley Stream was the sole Long Island village to appear on State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s latest report of villages facing fiscal stress.
The comptroller’s study, released Wednesday, reported Valley Stream is in its second straight year of being “susceptible to fiscal stress,” having posted a $2.1 million general fund deficit for the fiscal year ending May 31, 2016. The village also posted a $931,000 deficit in total fund balance last year.
DiNapoli’s office gave Valley Stream the “susceptible” designation for the second consecutive year, but village Treasurer Michael Fox said officials passed a structurally balanced budget last year with a 6.8 percent tax increase and reduced its fiscal stress score this year.
DiNapoli’s report assesses 535 New York State villages. The fiscal stress scores are calculated using year-end fund balance, short-term borrowing, and patterns of operating deficits, in addition to factors such as population, property value and reliance on state and federal aid.
Fox said Valley Stream officials plan to pass a balanced budget this year that stays under the state’s property tax levy cap and are aiming to receive no stress designation in the coming years. The village’s finances were not affected by any tax breaks approved for village business developments, Fox said.
Valley Stream posted the general fund deficit after paying for two projects for lighting along Sunrise Highway and storm water improvements in the village. Both projects were paid for by the village while awaiting reimbursement in state and county grants.
“This wasn’t something that was going to happen overnight,” Fox said. “This report was affirming that Valley Stream is starting to turn the corner in the right direction.”
Amityville has been deemed susceptible to stress in reports issued in the past three years, but the village is not included in this year’s report because officials did not file their information on time, according to the Comptroller’s office.
Village Treasurer Dina Shingleton said the village was late in filing due to changes in village personnel, but next year’s budget expected to show a surplus. Comptroller officials said they could not make a designation without this year’s financial data.
DiNapoli released a similar list of school districts under fiscal stress in January, reporting the Hempstead School District to be in significant stress, with Jericho, Long Beach and Oceanside schools susceptible to fiscal stress.
Fiscal stress scores will be released in April and September for cities, towns and counties. The Town of Hempstead, and Suffolk and Nassau counties were listed as being in moderate stress in 2015. Oyster Bay did not file its financial report last year and North Hempstead received no designation.