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State Comptroller: Long Beach under significant fiscal stress

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Long Beach remains one of three Nassau County municipalities that remained in financial stress in 2020, according to a recent report by the New York State Comptroller’s office.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s report has assessed municipalities since 2012. The system assesses levels of fiscal stress in local governments using indicators including year-end fund balance, cash position, short-term cash-flow borrowing and patterns of operating deficits. Population trends, poverty and unemployment are also factors taken into account when assessing the score.

“These local communities were already struggling with fiscal stress before the pandemic hit,” DiNapoli said. “Some of that pressure could be alleviated with federal stimulus funds and the restoration of state aid, but the full extent of the pandemic’s impact on local communities is unclear and the fiscal landscape continues to change. Local officials should remain vigilant in monitoring their financial condition.”

The report evaluated governments that had fiscal years ending between Feb. 28 and July 31, 2020. The total governments included 523 villages and 17 cities.

DiNapoli’s report also features a self-assessment tool, where municipalities can calculate their own fiscal stress scores. In 2020, Long Beach had a fiscal stress score of 77.1 compared to last year, when it was 85.0.

City of Long Beach Comptroller Inna Reznik said that the fiscal stress on the city is a structural problem, which was built up from previous years, but added that the city is moving in the right direction.

“I think we need to continue to do what we’ve done already,” Reznik said. “We’ve implemented a lot of financial policies. We are following those policies and I think if we continue to be disciplined financially we will see further improvements.”

The city’s assessment also shows that they’ve made improvements in their total fund balance and operating deficits. Reznik noted that the city’s effort to rebuild its fund balance and maintaining a balanced budget are keys to improve the city’s fiscal condition.

Along with the City of Long Beach, Island Park and Valley Stream were also deemed as significant fiscal stress.