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Overestimated Pension Bill Results in Unexpected Money for Erie County

Overestimated Pension Bill Results in an Unexpected $3.9 Million for Erie County

N.Y.S. overestimated the amount of money Erie County needed to pay in order to meet its pension obligations, resulting in an estimated positive cash impact of $3.9 million for Erie County in 2013

(Buffalo) – Erie County does not have to pay as much as estimated by the New York State Comptroller’s Office to meet its pension obligations to New York State, resulting in an estimated $3.9 million positive cash impact for Erie County’s general fund. 

The New York State Comptroller’s Office estimates how much Erie County owes in pension payments based on the number of employees on the county payroll and the cost of their salaries. 

Since there were significant reductions in the Erie County workforce in 2011 under the previous administration, Erie County wound up paying more to New York State than it was supposed to for its pension bill.  This pension payment was all based on estimates made by the New York State Comptroller’s Office.

“Think of this as a homeowner who has monthly balanced billing from a utility.  At the end of the year the family may have actually used much less gas or electricity than the utility company estimated and billed for.  Only until an exact reading would the homeowner then receive a credit towards future bills.  This is exactly what’s happening with Erie County and the New York State Comptroller’s Office,” said Erie County Deputy Comptroller for Accounting Gregory Gach.

The Office of Erie County Comptroller estimated that the county would be credited $3.9 million this year in its general fund towards its pension obligations. 

The Office of Erie County Comptroller formally notified the Erie County Legislature, Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority, and the Office of Budget and Management of this positive cash impact of $3.9 million towards Erie County’s general fund.

“This is great news for Erie County taxpayers.  This estimated $3.9 million credit could cover holes in this year’s budget if the administration falls short of its own sales tax revenue projections.  It can serve as a small safety net if the administration was in fact overly aggressive and optimistic in sales tax revenue projections, said Erie County Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw.”

“This bolsters the sound budgeting practices of legislators from the Democratic, Republican, Independence, and Conservative parties who blocked the County Executive’s proposed property tax increase last year.  The positive cash impact of an estimated $3.9 million should give the administration pause if they are planning another unnecessary property tax increase this year.  Families are struggling.  The last thing the administration should do is hurt homeowners with higher taxes,” added Comptroller Mychajliw.

Please click here to read the correspondence to the Legislature