The Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments (FRB), a ten-member panel established earlier this year to offer assistance to cash-strapped local governments, met for the second time this week. The FRB considered and approved the requests of the towns of Fishkill, in Dutchess County, and Fulton, in Oswego County, to review their finances.
The two municipalities are the first to seek FRB assistance. Both are close to “junk bond” status, and have low cash fund balances. The FRB’s advice is not binding, but municipalities must accept its recommendations in order to get funding. The FRB must prepare its review within six months. It can provide up to $5 million in grants to local governments that follow its recommendations.
We’re keeping a close on eye on this process, as there are many, many local governments Upstate that are facing serious fiscal distress. And let’s hope that the FRB is serious in its work and openly discusses the problems, and REAL solutions, that plague our local governments.