The Current State of Our City

January 2020

The City of Plattsburgh has been overcoming excessive General Fund spending that once significantly exceeded revenue to one in which expenses are now in line with revenue. Over the past couple of years, the City has begun to generate a small but significant surplus to regenerate the City's General Fund Balance. The dashboard indicators below demonstrate how we are progressing in monitoring costs to improve the City's fiscal sustainability in those key areas of city finances.

This site is still a work-in-progress. To provide the public with the most accurate business case for each of our departments, we continue to work on partitioning such items as principal and interest for capital projects, and retiree health care costs, to individual departments. We will also be adding the ability to track the total General Fund Surplus. We'll keep you posted.

Thank you for your interest in the financial sustainability of the City of Plattsburgh.

Mayor Colin Read



General fund debt in real terms is now at the average over the past two decades.


Debt as a share of expenditures is below average, which is good, and represents about eight months of spending.


The General Fund unassigned balance is the best indicator of city operations solvency. The city faced a fiscal crisis in the early 2000s and from 2013 to 2017. Major restructuring has put the city on a secure financial path and the fund balance within the prudent 10% to 20% range (as a share of annual expenditures).


In inflation-adjusted terms, spending from the general fund peaked in the years of the early 2000s and 2013 to 2016. In those years, revenue fell short of expenses.


The moderated expenditure and fiscal sustainability has not come at the expense of services. For instance, road rebuilding since 2018 is proceeding at twice the the rate of the balance of the decade.




Public Safety Finances


The bar graph shows how the pattern of expenses to fund public safety has been trending since 2016 and where we are with spending compared to our budget this year.


Fire Department Finances


This dashboard indicator shows our fire department costs so far this year, compared to the budget. When the dashboard circle is in red it indicates that the budget has been exceeded.

Police Department Finances


This dashboard indicator shows our fire department costs so far this year, compared to the budget. When the dashboard circle is in red it indicates that the budget has been exceeded.



The Pattern of General Fund

Revenue Generation Over Time


General Fund revenue has been rising since 2016 but, until recently, expenses were rising faster and exceeding revenue. 2019 data is still incomplete as some payments to the City have not yet been made.

The Elements that Drive General Fund Spending


The pie chart shows the sources of General Fund revenue. While the largest source of revenue is property taxes, state aid, PILOT revenue, and fees for services combine to constitute a significant revenue source for the city.

The Common Council pays close attention to overtime expenses and is considering policies and procedures to manage these costs. To better track overtime as it occurs, the City is exploring platforms to centralize timekeeping so overtime is categorized and captured more consistently across every department.