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Olean makes progress in improving its finances, state audit finds

OLEAN – The City of Olean “has made significant progress in improving its financial condition,” according to the office of State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, but it still needs to make some adjustments in its 2016-17 budget.

State auditors who reviewed the $24,672,063 spending plan said that “the significant revenue and expenditure projections ... appear reasonable,” but faulted the city for not fully acting on recommendations in their 2015 budget review letter.

This year auditors are advising the city to stop using money left over from previous years to pay for recurring costs and put those expenditures into the budget instead.

They also said that the budget should allow for possible pay increases for city employees since all four of the city’s collective bargaining agreements will have expired by the end of the current fiscal year. Wages and salaries, they pointed out, account for 44 percent of the general fund budget.

Auditors also noted that city officials did not follow a previous recommendation to begin drawing up multiyear plans as part of their budget process.

“We continue to recommend,” the auditors wrote, “that city officials create, adopt, use and annually update both a multiyear capital plan and a multiyear financial plan and that both plans become an integral part of the budget process to mitigate the risk of unbalanced future budgets.”