State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli came to Watertown on Wednesday to commend the city's leadership on its sound financial stewardship. DiNapoli's office is rolling out a program of annual fiscal “stress tests” for municipalities and school districts. And the comptroller said Watertown sets an example for prudent financial planning.
Flanked by a smiling Mayor Jeff Graham at a downtown hotel, DiNapoli credited what he called “flexible long-term planning” for the city’s overall fiscal health.
He said Canadian shoppers and Fort Drum provide Watertown with an economic advantage, but the city's efforts to raise its fund balance and reduce debt are also behind its sound financial footing.
"We've highlighted that the city's accurate and realistic budgets have put the city of Watertown in a strong fiscal position when compared to many other cities, particularly other upstate cities," DiNapoli said.
Mayor Graham said city officials have been focused on creating a fertile environment for economic growth by keeping taxes stable, maintaining infrastructure, and quickly addressing unforeseen challenges.
DiNapoli pointed to some ongoing obstacles for Watertown, too, including poverty and unemployment rates higher than the average for all New York cities, and a significantly lower median income.
But, he said, continued good decision-making by local government should help the city tackle those issues.
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