With a score of 6.7, Ulster County is tied for third among New York State’s 62 Counties for Fiscal Stability.
New York State Comptroller’s Office (OSC) issued Ulster County’s 2020 overall fiscal stress score of 6.7 out of 100. The score signifies there is no designation or no current fiscal stress score for the County.
“As we navigate through the pandemic, residents can rest assured that Ulster County is continuing to use strong financial management practices to ensure that their tax dollars are spent wisely and effectively,” said Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan. “The rating from the NYS Comptroller along with our S&P bond rating, allows us to continue to provide high-quality services for our residents while also ensuring the highest level of fiscal responsibility.”
This assessment done by the OSC is an objective assessment of the fiscal challenges facing local governments.
Data is collected by using the annual financial reports submitted by local governments to the OSC.
“The State Comptroller has a Constitutional and statutory function to examine and report on the financial affairs and condition of local governments and school districts,” reads the Office of the New York State Comptrollers, Fiscal Stress Monitoring System Manual. “In conjunction with this role, the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) developed and launched the Fiscal Stress Monitoring System (System) in 2013. In 2017, OSC implemented System enhancements, reflecting four years of operational experience as well as feedback collected during a 75-day public comment period.”
“Through this program, OSC provides the public with objective information highlighting communities in need of timely and corrective attention. Ideally, local officials use the System analysis to pursue local actions in an orderly, transparent and inclusive manner — to minimize disruption to vital services and maximize citizen engagement. Similarly, the System allows State leaders to be better informed as to the overall fiscal climate in which these entities operate,” reads the manual.
The System uses three categories of stress. They are the same for both the financial indicator and the environmental indicator results: Significant Stress, Moderate Stress and Susceptible to Stress.
Ulster County has been reported to have zero fiscal stress since 2013.
When outlining the 2022 budget plan for the county, Ryan said that Ulster County was on the strongest financial footing in at least a decade.
“My 2022 Executive budget will once again hold the line on property taxes with a zero percent tax increase. In addition, we will make major commitments to bolstering mental health services, addressing the housing crisis and directly financially supporting our small businesses,” said Ryan. “For far too long, we have understaffed, underfunded and undervalued mental health services in New York State and across our country, including right here in Ulster County. This budget puts an end to that and puts funding directly into growing our economy and caring for those most in need in our community.”
Ulster County was able to hold the line on taxes due to strong fiscal management in response to the pandemic which can be seen through the county receiving a strong credit rating of AA in the most recent ratings by S&P Global for the ninth year in a row.