Gloversville’s fiscal condition improving, state official says

GLOVERSVILLE – The city is experiencing higher rates of poverty and unemployment than other cities around the state, but its fiscal condition is getting better, said state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who visited the city Wednesday.

“Gloversville is struggling to cope with considerable economic challenges,” said DiNapoli. “Like many upstate New York communities, Gloversville operates with very limited financial flexibility and often struggles with difficult budget decisions. Mayor [Dayton] King and past city officials have been aware of these challenges and have worked hard to build a healthy fund balance and improve the city’s financial operations.”

A report released by DiNapoli on the fiscal profile of the city shows weak growth in property values forced the city to implement a series of tax increases during the early part of the decade. The increases nearly exhausted the city’s constitutional taxing limit. In 2005, the city had virtually no available tax margin, the report stated.

The city, however, has held the annual growth in its expenditures (2.1 percent) below the growth rate of its revenues (2.6 percent) for the past decade, which has helped to improve its fiscal condition, the report stated. The city now sits at 93 percent of its constitutional tax limit with an available margin of $505,000.

DiNapoli said the city’s credit rating recently was upgraded.

“I look forward to partnering with the comptroller and his staff to find new ways to minimize costs while still providing the services that residents of Gloversville expect,” King said in a news release.

Among other findings in DiNapoli’s report:

– In 2010, 24 percent of families in Gloversville were living in poverty, more than double the statewide rate.

– More than 13 percent of properties in Gloversville are vacant.

– The city relies more heavily on property tax revenues (42 percent) than other cities in the state.

– The city’s unemployment rate was estimated at 13.5 percent from 2007 to 2011, much higher than the state’s average unemployment rate of 8.2 percent over the same period.

More on this story will appear in Thursday’s print edition of The Leader-Herald.

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