City Finishes Consecutive Fiscal Year With Surplus

Standing, Joseph Bellitto, city comptroller, discusses the 2018 year-end finance report with the Jamestown City Council. The city finished last year with a $416,222 surplus. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

For the second consecutive year, the city of Jamestown finished a fiscal year in the black.

On Monday, Joseph Bellitto, city comptroller, presented the Jamestown City Council with the 2018 year-end finance report. Bellitto said the city had a surplus of $416,222 in 2018, which followed a surplus in 2017 of $1,137,244. For the previous six years, 2011-2016, the city finished each year with a deficit, with the largest being in 2015 — a loss of $1,148,175.

Bellitto said revenues last year were $762,161, or 2.13 percent, more than budgeted while expenditures were $345,939, or .97, over budget. He said the city has an unassigned fund balance at the end of 2018 of $2,257,197. However, he said this is still below what is recommended by accounting standards, with the city needing to have $6 million in the unassigned fund balance to meet the accepted guideline.

Highlights of the last fiscal year included $434,337 more in sales tax than was budgeted, Bellitto said. Also, a state retirement system payment of $445,000 under budget, $1.1 million under estimates for health and dental insurance and $144,000 in reimbursement from the state for the Greater Jamestown Riverwalk project.

Concerns include not having a current contract agreement with all six employee bargaining units, being at the Constitutional tax limit and having millions of dollars in capital equipment and project requests remaining unfunded.

Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor, said if not for the additional $1 million in state aid the city received for the second consecutive year in 2018, the city would have finished with a deficit of around $600,000 instead of a surplus of $400,000. He said this is why city officials cannot say “yes” to all request made by city administrators even if it is warranted. He added that someday the additional $1 million the state has approved in aid for city finances will end.

Bellitto also presented the council with the first quarter 2019 fiscal report as well.

He said revenues are within budget estimates. He added that expenditure accounts are also within normal budget range, which depends mostly on how long or severe the winter whether is at the beginning of the year. He said overtime cost were down 30 percent and salt expenses were down by 19 percent compared to 2018. One concern is that the central garage has used more than one-third of its budget in the first three months of the year.