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WBFO News Article on Urgent Cash Crunch

New county comptroller warns of urgent cash crunch

By Eileen Buckley

Erie County's new fiscal watchdog says the county is facing a cash crunch. Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw says he quickly realized there is not enough funding in place to cover a $15 million ECMC payment owed to the state next week.

The county borrowed $35 million last year to cover its $29 million Intergovernmental Transform payment owed to Erie County Medical Center. The county must make this year's payment on January 8.

"To put things in perspective, Erie County is a $1.4 billion operation and there isn't enough cash in the bank to make a $15 million payment next week. Yes, it's alarming, but it's manageable," Mychajliw told WBFO.

Mychajliw says he reached out to County Executive Mark Poloncarz in requesting the delay in payment. He says he is optimistic there will be a "positive resolution to this very serious issue."

"We had a conference call this morning with ECMC officials and we're very confident that they will agree to our request to delay. If we didn't have such a strong partner in ECMC, the consequences could be severe. We don't pay our debt service. We don't pay our utilities. We don't pay employees, potentially. But I'm confident we won't get to that point.

Mychajliw tells WBFO News he is worried that as he digs in, this very well could be the "tip of the iceberg."

Source: WBFO News

Eileen Buckley, January 4, 2013

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