Priorities

March will shine a light and follow the money, by:

Smart Auditing

By taking a professional, objective and helpful approach to targeting waste, potential fraud and uncovering cost savings, March Gallagher will continue use the office as an internal best practices consulting arm of the county. During March’s first term, an audit of the collection of occupancy tax on short-term rentals such as Airbnb resulted in Ulster County signing an agreement to collect the tax online and remit it directly to the County. An audit of capacity and staffing of the Ulster County Jail identified savings that was used in the 2021 budget to fund mobile mental health services. In the coming term, the Ulster County Comptroller will continue to use risk assessment to identify areas of County operations that could use improved internal controls.

Sharing Data

Ulster County Comptroller March Gallagher launched the first ever Ulster County Taxpayer Checkbook allowing the public to see every vendor payment made the prior month. To bring even more transparency to taxpayer money, the Comptroller’s Office now shares a summary of every contract Ulster County enters. Comptroller Gallagher regularly shares information on the real estate market, unemployment, and other economic indicators via reports, press releases and social media to help inform policy makers and the public. Data sharing can foster trust and sense of accountability that residents have in local government, and provide for productive conversations among the community.

Explaining County Issues

The Comptroller’s office reports serve to examine and communicate financial issues related to the efficiency and effectiveness of county operations, and relate them back to the public. Throughout the pandemic, the Comptroller’s Office has issued numerous reports and data, such as the Mid-Year Sales Tax Report, to help residents and policy makers understand the economic impacts. Ulster County Comptroller March Gallagher published the first ever Ulster County Popular Annual Financial Report. The report contained a special focus on the rise in housing costs and showed that the county’s net position has dropped to -$53 million as a result of changes to the accounting for post-employment liabilities. In the coming year Comptroller Gallagher plans to publish a racial equity study for Ulster County and over her next term, look at the impact of the New York City Watershed on Ulster County’s financial position.