County Audit And Control Wraps Up Budget Discussions

MAYVILLE – An additional $3,000 was added to the county’s tentative budget as budget hearings were completed Wednesday.

The County Legislature’s Audit and Control Committee ended its two-week budget review process by adding an additional $3,000 for veterans affairs training certification. Even though the committee added money on the last day of the budget hearings, throughout the process the committee has decreased the preliminary budget. John Runkle, R-Stockton and Audit and Control Committee chairman, said the proposed tax levy has decreased by around $2 million through the changes made to the tentative budget by committee members.

The largest changes included a reduction of more than $1 million in Intergovernmental Transfer funding for the Chautauqua County Home. The next largest reduction proposed by the committee included reducing the Office for the Aging’s budget by $500,000. The committee also made a $200,000 cut to Safety Net funding, which is associated with Welfare to Work funding. The Audit and Control Committee was also informed by Susan Marsh, county finance director, earlier this week of additional revenues in the electric fund. Marsh explained when additional revenues are recognized, they are placed in the fund balance. Since the money is placed in the fund balance, the committee recommended reducing the fund balance by $250,000 to recognize the profit from the electric fund. The committee will be recommending an increase of $10,000 into the legislative budget for outside council.

Runkle said the committee has done its due diligence on the 2014 proposed budget.

“We’ve taken a comprehensive look at the budget and made the appropriate adjustments,” he said. “We did what the majority of taxpayers would have us to do.”

Runkle said the proposed tax rate for the 2014 budget is now at $9.10 per $1,000 assessed property value. He said the tentative budget proposed by County Executive Greg Edwards had the rate at $9.39. So along with a $2 million reduction in the proposed levy, the tax rate could also be reduced by 29 cents.

The proposed changes to the preliminary budget still needed to be approved by the full County Legislature. The group will meet Wednesday, Oct. 23, to vote on a 2014 spending plan.

Edwards unveiled his tentative $230.8 million budget to legislators Sept. 25. His budget reflected a 3.4 percent increase to the tax levy, bringing it from $62,135,666 in 2013 to $64,263,004 in 2014.