Poloncarz: 2015 positive variance of over $18 million reflects combination of prudent budgeting, reductions in spending and other affirmative factors
Amendments designate additional 2016 funding for roads, lead-poisoning prevention, opioid crisis response plan, youth programming and community projects
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz announced Monday Erie County anticipates ending 2015 with a positive budget variance of more than $18 million, which he said is the result of prudent budgeting, savings from cost containment, reductions in spending, and favorable results such as lower Medicaid costs stemming from provisions in the Affordable Care Act.
The Poloncarz administration has submitted to the Erie County Legislature a resolution authorizing budget-balancing amendments necessary to close the county's books and prepare financial statements for review by the county's independent auditors. Such amendments are a routine budgetary action that occurs each year.
"I am pleased to report that we are anticipating a large positive variance as the county prepares to close the books on 2015, demonstrating once again that my administration developed a budget that met the community's needs, but was prudent in its allocations and realistic in its expectations," Poloncarz said. "These amendments will allow us to finish out the year on a very positive note and provide new funding for a number of important community services and programs in 2016.
"Upon approval of this resolution, we will be able to provide an additional $5 million for Erie County roads and other investments in highway department equipment, along with $750,000 for lead-poisoning prevention and $375,000 for my opioid crisis response plan in addition to funds for other important community programs. These are all needed investments that residents have demanded."
After approval of the resolution and accompanying expenditures, it is anticipated Erie County will end fiscal year 2015 with a modest surplus of approximately $2 million, comparable to positive fiscal results seen in each year of the Poloncarz administration.
Poloncarz continued, "Erie County's total annual operating budget is roughly $1.5 billion, so to end the year with a positive variance of this size demonstrates our continued financial progress and careful stewardship of the county's checkbook while providing the services county residents expect."
The Erie County Legislature will review the budget-balancing amendment, including the proposed funding for the opioid response plan and lead-poisoning prevention program at its next session on April 14. Poloncarz noted that, the earlier the resolution is approved, the faster the additional roadwork and other projects can commence this spring.