Stringer highlights small N.Y. City surplus in CAFR release

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New York City ended fiscal 2017 with a $5 million general fund surplus, city Comptroller Scott Stringer said Tuesday in his comprehensive annual financial report.

This marks the 37th straight year the city has completed its fiscal year in the black.

By charter, the city must submit its CAFR, which includes the city’s audited financial statements for the year, outlines important economic and financial data about the city and highlights initiatives by the comptroller’s office, during the fiscal year.

“Accountability and transparency matter, particularly when our city is facing an existential threat from Washington,” Stringer said.

The city, the New York City Transitional Finance Authority and the New York City Municipal Water Finance Authority issued a combined $11.2 billion of long-term bonds to finance the city’s capital program and refinance higher coupon bonds for interest savings.

Refundings from fiscal 2017 will generate $437.15 million in budgetary savings over the lifetime of the bonds, said Stringer, whose Bureau of Public Finance, in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget, issues bonds.

Also in fiscal 2017, the city, TFA and Water Authority together issued $8.4 billion of new money bonds and issued $2.8 billion of bonds to refund a portion of their outstanding bonds at lower interest rates.

As of June 30, the city’s outstanding general obligation debt, the TFA’s future tax-secured debt, and the Water Authority’s debt together totaled $100.3 billion.

The CAFR also contains financial statements of the city’s five pension funds and related entities including NYC Health + Hospitals, the Water and Sewer system and the New York City Economic Development Corp.

Stringer’s asset management bureau had $182.3 billion in assets under management for the five city pension funds – the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, the Teachers’ Retirement System of the City of New York, the New York City Police Pension Fund, the New York City Fire Department Pension Fundand the New York City Board of Education Retirement System.

The pension trust funds, he said, earned $24.4 billion in investment income, net of investment expenses for a 13% return.

Employer and employee contributions to the pension funds, said Stringer, totaled $13.9 billion and $2.9 billion, respectively, while the systems made payments to beneficiaries totaling $14.5 billion.

This year’s CAFR reflects the adoption of new financial reporting requirements issued by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, including GASB statements 74, 75, 80 and 82.

GASB 74, said Stringer, had no impact on city financial statements. GASB 75 modified the calculation of other post-employment benefits, which resulted in a restatement of the FY16 OPEB liability but had no impact on governmental funds.

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Budgets Scott Stringer City of New York, NY New York