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By Robert Cornell

Great report card: City Of Hornell Receives an “A” for 2021-2022 Audit

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Pictured is the Common Council at the November meeting

The City of Hornell Common Council received a presentation and reviewed favorable results from the City’s annual audit report at their November 21, 2022 meeting which reviewed the prior 2021-2022 fiscal year.

On hand to present was Matthew Montalbo from Drescher and Malecki. Montalbo reviewed a positive course for the City’s finances noting revenues continue to exceed expenditures, despite the increase in expenditures compared to the previous year as the economy rebounded from the pandemic, but with increased costs due to hyperinflation.

“Some really good news is that there was a large increase in sales tax resulting in $700,000 revenue. I don’t think that anyone anticipated that large of an increase, and that’s very good news,” stated Montalbo. “When you’re looking at fund balance, you really want to note the unassigned percentage. It’s really healthy to see a balance of 32% for the City of Hornell with the recommendation being a minimum of 16.67%,” continued Montalbo.

Chair of the Finance Committee and First Ward alderwoman Melissa Ponticello shared her thoughts on the audit, “It’s good to see how the City has managed to control expenses during the uncertain times of the pandemic and we are pleased to be in a much more favorable financial position than we were a few years ago. The positive audit shows the hard work that everyone puts in to keep our City running smoothly.” 

“The City saw an addition of over $500,000 to fund balance as we continue to be mindful of spending as the cost of doing business continues to rise,” stated Mayor John Buckley. “While we continue to make improvements to our infrastructure, invest in public safety and equipment, we also continue to deliver a high level of service across all departments. This audit is a real testament to teamwork and sound management,” continued Buckley.

“With the additional increase to our fund balance, the City is in a better position to handle these uncertain economic times. We are now able to make a couple of one-time purchases that we have had to put off in the past.  This will improve our operations, as well as the services that we provide,” stated City Chamberlain Michele Smith.  

The presentation did note a decrease in fund balance to the Water Budget as expenditures did exceed revenue. “This is not uncommon with the increased cost of chemicals, maintenance, and the City’s recent upgrade to the Water Treatment Facility,” stated Montalbo. The Common Council did look to address this shortfall with a recent look at water rates.

The Hornell Public Library funds were also reviewed with a notable stable trend, though with some expenditure increase related to capital expenditures.

Ninth Ward Alderman and Finance Committee member, Robert Colucci noted his positivity regarding the City’s financial picture following the presentation, “As a member of the financial services industry, I have participated in many audits and audit presentations. This audit, with no findings, indicates the City is providing complete and accurate financial reports and adequate controls are in place. In its totality, the presentation to the City Council underscores the current administration’s sound fiscal management and bodes well for the future of Hornell. As an alderman, the audit is reassurance that our Mayor, Chamberlain, and department heads are doing a great job and deserve our thanks.”

The extensive review provided an intensive look into the City’s finances. Montalbo was asked to summarize the audit and assign a letter grade for the City’s finances, where he indicated he would provide the City with an “A” grade. 

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