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Into the black: Audit shows Batavia on the financial upswing

By Philip Anselmo

An independent audit of the city's finances declares Batavia in "improving financial stability." For only the second time in the past five years, the city recorded a surplus in its general fund. Thanks to an excess of revenue over spending of $1,652,361, the city logged $617,218 in surplus and chipped away at the "undesignated" deficit, which shrank from $1,860,906 to $365,895.

Auditors Freed, Maxick and Battaglia chalk up the successful year to "cautious revenue and expenditure budgeting," the increase of more than $800,000 in property tax revenue owing to a higher tax rate, state aid for struggling cities and the elimination of seven full-time and 12 part-time employees. The last saved the city approximately $460,000 in personnel expenses.

And the future, too, looks bright:

These efforts along with continual expense monitoring and revenue improvements will assist in regaining long term fiscal solvency, while building a healthy fund balance and investing in capital equipment, City facilities and infrastructure.

The three part audit runs well over 100 pages and paints a much more nuanced portrait of the city's financial state, and addresses such topics as the imminent consolidation of city police and county sheriff dispatch crews, future savings from fixing leaks in the city's water lines and the ongoing arbitration with the police union.

We'll inspect the document more closely over the next week, but in the meantime, let's just let the graphics speak for themselves.

Charlie Mallow

So much for those who have proclaimed the end was near. Results matter, not talk. We will continue to make the right moves, at the right time.

Aug 18, 2008, 9:49am Permalink
Russ Stresing

Auditors' reputations are built on their objective analysis of facts and figures. Their statements have to be free of ideological bias or political intent to maintain their reputation. The findings of auditors Freed, Maxick and Battaglia that the City of Batavia is moving in the right direction carry much more weight than the opinions of a columnist who's writings consist mostly of Little League reports.

Aug 18, 2008, 11:34am Permalink
daniel cherry

Russ stressing your just plain rude.I for one, enjoy The Batavian.And i am sure if there is more information available,to the contrary the batavian will be first to print or should i say, type it.Right?No point in stressing is there??Whats wrong with little league?Little league is more important to our children than a financial report right?I like the batavian because they can tell both sides of the news unlike big media.So Mr stressing why dont you...put the Freed Maxic and Battaglia report on here so everyone can read it....dan

Aug 18, 2008, 12:03pm Permalink
Donna Jackett

Summer in the City, why not call it the Big Cruise Night.
What a joke. When the "wing ding" first started it was great and there were so many people.
Now it's all classic cars and nothing else. If you want to save money, just QUIT!!!
Too many cars and not enough activities for families with kids. WHAT A JOKE

Aug 18, 2008, 12:27pm Permalink
Russ Stresing

daniel cherry,
Please, go here and read this.… And look up Mr. DeSmit's columns on the Richmond Library website before taking me to task for any references I made with with which you're not familiar . And go to my name in The Batavian users list for further clarification.

And just for my sake, try to get my last name right, ok?


Aug 18, 2008, 1:30pm Permalink
Daniel Jones

For everyone that says that the dust that certain council-members isn't necessary, for those who fear controversy because it may not seem like the 'nice' thing for local government to be involved in or because it isn't politically expedient, look at the numbers above. Sometimes talking tough is whats needed to get real results.

Aug 18, 2008, 4:50pm Permalink
Laura Russell Ricci

I think we should just scrap all those who have been sucking the life out of this town out of office or whatever power they hold on this cute little town and replace them all with FRESH new people!!!

Aug 18, 2008, 5:11pm Permalink
John Roach

This sounds like your running. I am not being rude, but what party are you with,if any? I'll help you pass your paperwork. Or, are you just venting?

Aug 19, 2008, 5:23am Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Would you do it with as little taxpayer money as possible, relying on private initiative and community support and involvement?

Aug 19, 2008, 11:45am Permalink
Laura Russell Ricci

I think that should be the standard! People are too far removed or apathetic towards events in Batavia. People need to start caring and being involved all ways.

Politicians who are elected work for the people that elected them, not the other way around. I wish voters would remember that. Taxes should be put right back into the community. I know as a tax payer that my hard earned, hard to keep paychecks should not be wasted.

Aug 19, 2008, 12:09pm Permalink
daniel cherry

Donna mabe your right.When it was the wingding we had an airshow.Now we dont.But we have a much larger airport now.There used to be 8,000 people out then.It was bigger.But i think my boys would have liked it if they were here.I didnt see a bouncy house this year.I did every other year.It was a little unnerving when the Popshow band said ya wanna hear another song.Ok.Woops they wont let us play one.Whos they?Are they the ones who said it costs what was it 5900$ to park a few trucks walk around and eat,and pick up trash, which took about 45 minutes?

Aug 19, 2008, 4:00pm Permalink
Bea McManis

Summer in the City may not have been Donna's cup of tea, however, it was a well attended event that brought Batavia's downtown area to life. The walk up and down Main St. to see all of the 290+ vehicles was a nostalgic stroll in many ways. The older cars and trucks brought back fond memories of another time. The stroll also conjured up memories of going downtown on a Friday night and meeting almost everyone as they did their weekly shopping. (another reason why the downtown business district NEEDS a grocery store).
Most important, those who came from out of our area left with a very postive impression of the city.
Perhaps Donna wanted a midway with carnival rides. That would be fun and certainly family friendly. Perhaps it could be considered in the future.
I, for one, was thrilled with the cars and the opportunity to meet with people I haven't seen in many years. It was a grand afternoon.
I am sorry I didn't get down the side streets, but time got away. I would have loved to meet those at the Batavian Booth.

Aug 19, 2008, 4:47pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Not if it's a Wegman's, but then Wegman's no longer builds human-scale stores.

There is a market for small, almost boutique-like grocery stores. The question is, would Batavia support such a market. These markets sell things like organic produce, local dairy products, have a specialty meat counter, off-brand cereals and condiments, etc.

Prices are higher and you have to bring in your own shopping bags, but targeting the discriminating shopper can be a successful marketing angle.

But grocery stores are such low margin businesses, starting a non-chain story of any kind is a major risk.

That said, a great place for one would be where Tim Horton's and Wendy's are today.

Aug 20, 2008, 6:38am Permalink
Bea McManis

I would love to see the old Jubilee building made into a permanent farmers' market, much in line with Broadway market.
Your idea is not out of the realm of possibility. In fact, it would be exactly what is needed to anchor the downtown business district.
The Amish have done this sort of marketing for years with a great deal of success. It can be done here.

Aug 20, 2008, 8:33am Permalink
Gabor Deutsch

I believe that allowing WalMart & Target to expand to groceries helped in the demise of jubilee,Latinas, and any other small food store from coming back to Batavia.

I agree with alot of the posts I have just read.

I dont know how bad off the old jubilee building structure is but I personally would love to see it used for Food type items.

Some people dont realize that many of Batavia's population enjoy being able to walk places and still shop. This is going to become more popular as gas prices top off at four bucks. There is a large market of consumers that for whatever reason, bike, walk, or push a stoller with hard earned cash in hand shopping for low cost food items. They are low income, tax paying, good Batavians, whom are most likely to stay in Batavia and continue to spend their money here through generations.

Aug 20, 2008, 3:42pm Permalink

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