It’s time to set the record straight on the strength of Ansonia’s “rainy day” reserve fund, which is among the strongest in the State of Connecticut.
Just this past August the CT Mirror published a feature entitled The State of CT’s Cities and Towns in Charts.
Within this feature the CT Mirror compared the strength and size of the unassigned financial reserves held by Connecticut’s 169 municipalities. This is taxpayer money set aside each year for emergencies or unforeseen expenditures.
The relative strength of an unassigned reserve is determined by calculating it as a percentage of the total budget. Auditors often recommend that undesignated reserves are between 8-10% of total budget expenditures.
Extracting the relevant chart in Excel, it can be seen that Ansonia ended the last fiscal year with the 15th strongest reserves in Connecticut. This is the percentage in the far right column in the chart I have provided.
It is true that the City of Ansonia has utilized its reserves to stabilize taxes while the city’s economy rehabilitates. This strategy has been working, as the grand list – the value of taxable property in the city – has grown over $8 million since 2013, and we have seen a plethora of new businesses enter the city.
However, Ansonia’s reserves remain very high.
In fact, the city anticipates that its reserves will be approximately 12% of its total budget this year, again placing it higher than most cities and towns in the state.
An example of a “weak” reserve can be found just next door in Derby. The list provided indicates that they have the 155th strongest reserve out of 169 municipalities. And this is despite the fact that Derby residents have seen their taxes increase over 4 mills since 2013, and their grand list decrease by about $32 million.
Finances are not a “weak” point in Ansonia. They are an undeniable strength.
The writer is an Alderman who represents Ansonia’s Second Ward.
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