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Monroe County has high "fiscal stress" according to report from the NYS Comptroller

Monroe County has the highest fiscal stress of any municipality in the state. That according to the latest survey on fiscal stress released by New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

The latest information is based on financial details provided to the comptroller by local governments as of August 31.

Based on their 2016 financial reports, the counties of Broome and Monroe and the cities of Albany and Watervliet have received the highest designation of “significant fiscal stress.”

DiNapoli’s monitoring system evaluates local governments on criteria that include fund balance, and patterns of operating deficits. It also looks at poverty and unemployment.

The comptroller says that over the last four years, 117 municipalities have been designated as fiscally stressed at least once during that period, and 11 of those have been designated as stressed in each of the four years.  Monroe County is the only municipality listed in “significant” stress each year.

A statement from a spokesman for Monroe County, Jesse Sleezer, says that the “so-called ‘fiscal stress’ reports are an insult to local taxpayers.”  He says that the state controls over 80 percent of Monroe County’s budget through mandated spending, and Sleezer says the county has held its property tax rate flat for more than a decade.

The statement also says that “Monroe County’s bond rating is up and its fiscal management is stronger than ever.”

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.