City considers setting up contingency fund

September 17, 2013

By Peter Clark

City Finance Director Diane Marcotte introduced plans for a city contingency fund during the Aug. 5 regular City Council meeting.

Previously discussed during Marcotte’s presentations to the council as a part of new financial policies to explore, she said a contingency fund could help prepare for major unexpected expenses as well as improve the city’s bond rating.

The introduction for the agenda bill explains the motivation behind the idea.

The established policies, “demonstrate to the public, the credit rating industry and prospective investors the city’s commitment to sound financial management and fiscal integrity,” it reads. “It is the staff’s recommendation that a component of maintaining a strong financial condition is the creation of a contingency fund.”

According to a summary, the fund would provide the city financial flexibility in the face of emergencies or sudden, unbudgeted needs without creating a large impact in services for citizens.

“A contingency fund is set aside for specific emergencies or unforeseen events compared to the operating reserve which ensures adequate cash flow for the day-to-day operations,” it reads. “It provides an external measure of financial strength to outside agencies and demonstrates the city’s commitment to a formalized financial reserve policy.”

In previous positions with other municipalities, Marcotte said she experienced massive utility crises, in which a contingency fund proved vital.

Beyond that, she explained how it was good financial policy to enact a fund in order to strengthen the city’s credit rating.

“Part of it is demonstrating setting the money aside in a contingency fund, rather than just having it there,” she said.

The council referred it to the Services & Safety Committee, which reviewed it during a Sept. 5 meeting, and was expected to return it to the full council Sept. 16.

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One Response to “City considers setting up contingency fund”

  1. bryan weinstein on September 21st, 2013 9:07 am

    the city has 2 jobs – protect citizens and keep the infrastructure working. if they have so much money that they want to set it aside, have we then done everything we could to insure we have enough police, fire, safety and fix all those potholes? if we have then it’s time to stop taxing citizens – like how about reducing some of our storm water and sewer rates a bit? seriously – government has so much money it does not know what to do with it? these set aside funds become nothing but cash hordes that do nothing to benefit citizens – and that is the job of government.

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