Audit report: Greenport Village finances improving

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Auditor Bill Freitag addressing the Greenport Village Board.

A financial consultant has given Greenport a thumbs up, saying the village has continued to improve its financial position over the past few years.

Bill Freitag of Albany-based Bollam Sheedy Torani & Co. said the most significant decision the village made during the 2012 fiscal year was refinancing its Mitchell Park debt to save nearly $1 million over the life of the bond. He described it as the best move the village has made in “many years.”

“That will allow you to get out from underneath that very large nut,” Mr. Freitag said during a recent Village Board meeting. “I think you’ve placed yourself in a good position.”

In June, Trustee Mary Bess Phillips and village treasurer Charlene Kagel announced that the village had secured a 1.8 percent interest rate to refinance the bond used to develop the harborside park. The move came after they learned how the village could extend the payback period from 15 to 30 years for certain expenses, such as dock and bulkhead work.

In addition to praising the refi plan, Mr. Freitag said the village’s electric fund had “another very strong year” but added Mother Nature hindered profits.

Out of the electric fund’s $3.3 million of gross revenue, Mr. Freitag said, it only produced a net income of $46,000. That’s about a nine percent reduction in net income over the previous fiscal year, he said.

“You’re about $40,000 short this year and there’s a reason for that,” he said. “Revenues were down … mostly due to the warm winter.”

Mr. Nyce said after the meeting that he believed the 32-page report shows how the village has succeeded in tightening its belt in the midst of an economic downturn.

“We have been, from day one, trying very, very hard to be fiscally conservative,” he said. “We haven’t laid anyone off and we’ve improved our infrastructure in a period when others are struggling. I’m really proud of that.”

Mr. Nyce said he believes the village is in a good financial position to tackle critical projects sooner rather later, such as improving the public water infrastructure on Adams Street to allow the installation of fire hydrants and sprinkler systems in buildings.