CATSKILL — The village’s 2017 fiscal stress score has decreased 1.6 percent from 2016.
The state Comptroller’s office released last year’s fiscal stress report on Tuesday. The village was listed as susceptible to fiscal stress, but its score has gone down from 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent.
“The lowest score is the best score,” Greene County Treasurer Peter Markou said.
A score of 65-100 is ranked as significant fiscal stress, 55-64.9 is moderate, 45-54.9 is susceptible and 0-44.9 is no designation, Markou said.
“The score factors in your year-end financial balance, if you’re operating with surplus, your cash position, if you have borrowed money,” Markou said. “It also looks at environmental factors such as the population, public assistance, what’s happening to the population and the median household income.”
The fiscal stress score indicates the amount of debt the area has, Catskill Village Clerk Betsy Cothren said.
“We borrowed money last year to repair the Black Bridge,” Cothren said.
The Black Bridge connects Water Street and West Main Street and was damaged by Hurricane Irene in 2011.
The bridge sustained heavy damage when flood waters raged in the Catskill Creek in Irene’s wake. A dive inspection of the bridge’s abutments revealed considerable erosion and degradation from both time and the scouring effect of the floods. The bridge was deemed too risky to keep open. Besides the pedestrian walkway, the Black Bridge carried natural gas lines from the West Side to the eastern section of the village across the Catskill Creek. Water and sewer lines run underneath the bridge through the creek bed.
The bridge is one of the last surviving remnants of the Catskill Mountain Railway.
The Black Bridge was built in the 1830s for the Canajoharie & Catskill Railroad.
After the railroad failed about a decade later, the bridge became part of the Catskill Mountain Railway. The railway transported summer tourists to Palenville and eventually to mountaintop destinations such as the Catskill Mountain House.
The bridge reopened last November.
The report reflects a three-year period, during which the village of Catskill has remained in the susceptible category for fiscal stress. The 2017 environmental stress score was also in the susceptible range at 36.7 percent.
The scoring break down for environmental stress is 50-100 for significant stress, 40-49.9 for moderate, 30-39.9 for susceptible and 0-29.9 for no designation.
The village is continuing to improve, Village President Vincent Seeley said.
“We are still a growing community and we continue to make smart investments in our infrastructure and operations,” he said. “We have the expenses of a small city and the revenue of a small town.”
The village’s main source of revenue comes from property taxes, Seeley said. The village has 2,500 taxpayers, Seeley added.
The report also included scores at the county level.
“The county is in great financial shape,” Markou said. Greene County had a score of zero for fiscal stress and a score of 40 for environmental indicators, Markou added.
In the last three years, the county’s fiscal stress has remained at zero and its environmental stress it has increased 34.2 percent from 2016, making it change from no designation to moderate environmental stress.
To look at the report, visit http://wwe1.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/fiscalmonitoring/fsms.cfm