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State audit finds St. Lawrence County in precarious financial position

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A state audit released today found that St. Lawrence County is in fiscal trouble and is coping with cash flow problems and a declining surplus.

The audit determined that the county’s weakening financial position has resulted in program cuts, tax increases and a potential operating deficit.

“St. Lawrence County is walking a financial tightrope,” Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said in a statement. “Recent budget decisions may leave the county without sufficient cash available for managing unforeseen events or closing budget shortfalls. Before the county gets in a financial bind, officials should develop a comprehensive long-range financial plan that will help identify operational and capital needs, monitor revenue and expenditure trends, and develop new financing sources.”

Auditors found that the county’s fund balance decreased 68 percent, from $21.3 million to $6.9 million, from 2007 through 2011.

The audit recommended that the Board of Legislators develop a fund balance policy that establishes a reasonable amount of fund balance in order to meet the county’s needs, provide sufficient cash flow, and reduce or eliminate short-term borrowing.

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