The New York State Financial Control Board voted in its annual review yesterday that New York City has met the criteria needed to avoid a takeover by the board in fiscal 1992.
Allen J. Proctor, the control board's executive director, announced the news at the organization's meeting at the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.
The board, created during the city's mid-1970s fiscal crisis, has the legal authority to take control of day-to-day city finances if New York City fails to meet five standards established by state law. At the close of each fiscal year, the board determines if the city has met those standards.
Chief among these are that the city must not produce a deficit of $100 million or more and that it must maintain access to credit markets.
The control board decided in 1986 to enter into its current sunset mode, thereby ending direct involvement in the city's finances. But in recent years, a weakening regional economy has increased the plausibility that the board will take over the city's finances, which is termed a "control period."
Observers of New York City finances were not surprised by yesterday's announcement, given the recent strength of the city's fiscal condition. City officials managed to produce a budget surplus of more than $455 million in fiscal 1992. The city has also achieved growing recognition from its financial monitors and rating agencies that its budget-monitoring process has improved substantially this fiscal year.
In a break from the routine nature of the meeting, City Comptroller Elizabeth Holtzman and Elinor B. Bachrach, the state deputy comptroller for New York City, who were both present at the meeting, disagreed over the merits of the city's last bond refunding as it relates to the city's debt-service costs.
Ms. Holtzman said the city's $1 billion bond sale in May, in which $288 million was used to refund the city's securities issued between 1981 through 1992 at higher interest rates, saved $33 million over the life of the bonds, and $16 million on a present value basis.
The deal also helped the city save about $85 million in fiscal 1993 by refunding bonds due in August.
But that is where Ms. Bachrach says the problems begin. She said in an interview following the meeting that the payoff of the August maturities does nothing more than provide budget relief in fiscal 1993.