In 1999 the city of Rutland had a $656,650 surplus in the general fund according to the audited financial statements for the year ended June 30, 1999. The pension was funded at 110 percent, according to the valuation dated Jan. 1, 1999.
By 2007 the most recent audited financial statements at that time show a general fund deficit of $1.4 million. The city pension had dropped to 85 percent funded, according to the valuation dated Jan. 1, 2007. A $5 million loan was needed to cure the deficit, pay off short-term loans and provide working capital for the city.
Today, the city has achieved significant financial strength through better accounting, internal controls, sound budgeting and financial restructuring, including debt repayment. Increases to the municipal tax rate have been minimal. The current mayor and most board members understand the financial operations of the city. Some board members underestimate the seriousness of the pension crisis, which concerns me. My expectation, as a citizen and as your treasurer, is that a candidate for the Board of Aldermen or mayor will be able to make good financial decisions based on fact.
I urge everyone to vote and take great care in evaluating the candidates against the standard of today’s financial operations. Ask the candidates how they plan to protect the financial strength of the city. Ask how they will ensure the pension funds will be fully funded without excessive burdens to future city taxpayers. You will make a difference by casting your vote for those who will care and do well by us financially.
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