City of Amsterdam Debt & Revenue Figures (Restored Post)
Here is a chart showing revenue and debt by year. A few quick comments:
1) The revenue trend and the total debt trend are correlated with an upward trend — positive indicator
2) Two jumps in debt occurred : 2005-2006 and 2010-2011 : not sure of the drivers — neutral indicators
3) As a quick and dirty measure (disclosure: many problems with such a measure), I took total revenues to debt as a ratio , the purple line. You see that the ratio jumped to about 0.7 in 2005-2006 and remained there until 2010-2011.
4) Debt service jumped in 2010-2011 with revenues decreasing — negative indicator
While the published data from the State Comptroller cannot answer the current and projected state of the city’s finances, it’s also helpful to go through this exercise and understand structurally what may be happening with the city’s financials.
In comptroller terms, this city, like other cities, faces fiscal stress. This is hardly a surprise. The degree of stress and how to best manage that stress , as of now, is completely unknown and uncertain. Given that, any prescription for how to deal with the issue is at the very best speculation or guesswork.
I don’t find much comfort in the state of the financial reporting of the city. But I don’t find much comfort in speculating either with no financials to analyze. Until that time however, debating the state of financials is utterly futile with no hard data.
We should look at the numbers first and then engage on what that means.
I’ll likely end this series with a concluding post on what the numbers show to date in terms of our fiscal policy and past policies.