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Revisions necessary to best reflect needs of county taxpayers
JOSEPH LORIGOErie County Legislator A s a rule, predicting exactly what will happen down the road is impossible. But eachyear, through analysis of trends and forecasting changes in the economy, theCounty’s Executive and Legislative branches predict expenditures and revenues tocreate an annual budget reflecting what is anticipated in the coming year.In addition, the county executive creates a four-year plan, predicting which expensesor revenue will grow —and which won’t—in order for the county to best prepare itslong-range goals. This is especially important in dealing with large projects, such asreconstruction of roadways and bridges that can cost millions of dollars.The past few years saw a reduction in the county workforce, a growth in surplus andthe elimination of long-term debt —all positive changes for the taxpayers. This allowed the county to maintain itsoperating budget while providing sound financial planning for the capital budget. As the new county executive, Mark Poloncarz recently applied his foresight into a four-year plan. While the basicinformation discussed in the proposal appears straightforward and balanced, the plan seems to lack pertinent details thatcould have a major bearing on the county’s economic future.For starters, the plan calls for $5.4 million of reserves to be used in 2013 without explanation as to where the money willbe used. Dipping into reserves for recurring expenses would rapidly deplete the savings previously built through cost-cutting initiatives. The plan should outline exactly why these funds are being used. Also missing is an increase reflecting union contract settlements. One would reason that settling the seven contracts —some that expired more than five years ago —will cost taxpayers a significant amount in retroactive wage increases.2012-04-19 / Editorial
Page 1 of 4Revisions necessary to best reflect needs of county taxpayers | www.westsenecabee.com | ...3/19/2013http://www.westsenecabee.com/news/2012-04-19/Editorial/Revisions_necessary_to_best_r...