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Erie County preliminarily closes fiscal year 2016 with balancing amendments, funding designations

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Tue, May 2nd 2017 12:45 pm

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz announced Erie County anticipates ending fiscal year 2016 with a modest positive budget variance of nearly $3 million, the result, he said, of prudent budgeting, reductions in spending, and certain favorable results such as lower Medicaid costs primarily resulting 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 projecting the county ending fiscal year 2016 in the black, demonstrating once again my administration's prudent fiscal management. These amendments will allow us to finish out the year on a positive note and target additional funding for critical needs," Poloncarz said. "Upon approval of this resolution, we will be able to provide an additional $1.2 million for the risk retention fund and $1.5 million for our intergovernmental transfer obligation to ECMCC, as well as set aside $300,000 for the county's unassigned fund balance."

The Erie County Legislature, in 2016, authorized the use of up to $22.2 million in unassigned fund balance monies for county projects, but only $9.4 million of these funds were used throughout the year, representing an actual fund balance usage of $12.8 million less than was authorized.

Additionally, the Poloncarz administration has closed every fiscal year in the black since taking office in 2012. His camp said this is thanks to realistic budgeting has been able to direct additional funding to a variety of county services and programs in that time, including both an opioid epidemic response plan and lead poisoning prevention program that began in 2016.

Poloncarz continued, "Erie County's total annual operating budget is roughly $1.7 billion. Ending with a positive variance of any size demonstrates our continued financial progress and careful stewardship of the county's checkbook. Since taking office as county executive, my administration has grown our unassigned fund balance, the county's 'piggy bank,' by nearly $17 million to over $100 million. We will continue to protect the public's money and propose and manage budgets with the goal of doing exactly what my administration has done each year in office: Finish the year in the black fiscally while ensuring needed services are provided."

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