3/3/14: Poloncarz Announces Modest County Budget Surplus Projection For 2013

Modified: January 23, 2015 2:59pm

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After Designations, Preliminary & Unaudited Results Indicate Year-End Surplus of $2 Million

 Aggressive Management Controls and Unanticipated Revenues are Factors

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz announced that the County Division of Budget and Management is projecting that Erie County will end fiscal year 2013 with a modest surplus of approximately $2 million following specific expenditure designations to address immediate areas of need. The preliminary and unaudited projections attribute the surplus to a number of factors, including aggressive spending and management controls, the County’s resumption of the In Rem property tax process, and several unanticipated revenues which accrued to Erie County in 2013.

“Erie County residents demand a government that is flexible, efficient, and is a good steward of County resources. These projections show that my administration has once again been able to prudently and effectively manage the County’s $1.4 billion budget and attain a small surplus for 2013,” said Poloncarz. “For the second straight year we have maintained tight spending and vacancy controls, aggressive fringe benefit cost containment, and completed cost-saving measures such as negotiating new collective bargaining agreements which we estimate will result in a very minor surplus of less than 1.0% of the total budget. Along with other fortuitous but unanticipated revenues, these projections continue to reflect realistic budgeting and prudent stewardship of county finances.”

The County’s resumption of the In Rem process and aggressive pursuit of delinquent property taxes is expected to generate at least $5 million in unanticipated revenue in 2013, and, as has been the case for many years due to under-budgeting of expected revenues, the County Clerk’s Office came in $2.1 million over-budget on revenues. Through Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2013-2014 State Budget, the County received $1.9 million in Medicaid-MMIS credits from New York State that was unexpected. In addition, the County received un-budgeted/settlement revenue or payments in the Early Intervention program ($1.8 million), from the City of Buffalo for the County’s administration of the police cellblock function ($838,451), Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority ($720,000) and Jail Management Medicaid ($576,975).

Poloncarz added, “Chief among these unanticipated revenue sources, having Erie County conduct its own In Rem process again has had a tremendously positive budgetary impact while at the same time addressing the problem of neglected housing countywide. The process puts properties into the hands of responsible owners while reinvigorating neighborhoods and greatly enhancing Erie County’s bottom line.”

Factors negatively impacting the 2013 budget include sales tax revenue, which brought in $5.6 million less than budget in 2013 and may have been impacted by a weakening Canadian dollar; federally-mandated additional expense totaling $2.8 million in the Division of Correctional Health; state-mandated spending in the Safety Net program, which came in  $2.4 million over budget; $2.1 million of over-budget spending in the Sheriff’s Jail Management Division along with $784,551 of over-budget spending for Sheriff’s Division overtime; and the County’s required repayment of $705,640 to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) to close the U.S. Department of Homeland Security audit of the October 2006 storm.  Both the Safety Net program and Jail Management overtime accounts had been reduced by the Erie County Legislature in their amendments to the 2013 Erie County Budget.

The County Executive added that due to positive 2013 factors, he will be requesting that the Erie County Legislature approve of several fiscal designations that will provide funds in 2014 to address several pressing matters, including a $7.0 million designation to help pay the County’s 2014 pension payment to the State, and a $2.0 million designation for additional road work, salt purchases and highway overtime expense due to the difficult winter conditions.  “We are experiencing the worst winter conditions in a decade, and it is taking its toll on our highways.  Through the 2013 designation, the County will be able to conduct more road work in 2014 to address the extreme conditions on our highways,” concluded Poloncarz.

The County Division of Budget and Management is working with the Office of the Comptroller to close out fiscal year 2013 and make all necessary accruals and budget entries. When all remaining accounting entries and accruals are posted, the County’s outside independent auditors at Drescher & Malecki, LLP will conduct the annual outside financial audit of the 2013 fiscal year and issue their report in June 2014. The final 2013 surplus number is subject to revision during the audit process and designations must be approved by the Erie County Legislature.

For more information:

On the Erie County Division of Budget and Management, visit