SOUND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

 

The second monthly meeting of the Allegany County Legislature was held on Monday, June 27th, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. Twelve Legislators were present, with three absent. Former Air Force Senior Airman Daniel Fuller, of Scio led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Daniel served from October 1991 until October 1995. For part of that time he served as a Tactical Aircraft Mechanic Crew Chief. In that capacity he was responsible for an F-15 being ready to perform in combat. We owe a great debt to him and his fellow veterans.

During Privilege of the Floor County Treasurer Terri Ross reported that the County’s bond rating has just been increased. Both Moody’s and Standard & Poors have now upgraded the County’s rating. This is important for several reasons. It means that we will be able to borrow at lower interest rates (if we actually borrow from commercial lenders). It also shows that we have made substantial progress and achieved financial stability. All of our short-term capital projects are financed from our fund balance, rather than through bonding. It hasn’t been easy, but our fiscal policies have paid off. Now we can look towards economic development to further improve our financial outlook.

The Legislature considered and approved 14 resolutions. Resolution #147-16 appointed Dr. Joseph Felsen to serve on the Office For the Aging Advisory Council. Resolution #148-16 appointed 8 members to serve on the recently formed Allegany County Land Bank Corporation Board of Directors. Resolution #149-16 approved a budget transfer of $950 to cover the cost of bases for no smoking signs. Resolution #150-16 transferred $3 million to fund the capping and permanent closure of the county landfill. Being able to pay for this from our fund balance (instead of through borrowing) represents a significant accomplishment. During my early years on the Legislature there were many dire warnings that paying for closure of the landfill could result in large increases in our tax rate. Sound financial management has enabled us to reduce taxes and still save enough to pay cash for the landfill closure expense.

Resolution #151-16 approved the transfer of $36,961 from a capital account for bridge repair to cover an overage on a bridge capital project on Barber Road in the Town of Rushford. Resolution #152-16 accepted and appropriated an additional $2,892 to supplement $143,989 previously received in 2016 TANF Summer Youth Funding. Resolution #153-16 accepted and appropriated $17,500 in grant funds to purchase equipment for the Tactical/ACLERT Team. Resolution #154-16 approved a grant application by the Office For the Aging for services for older Americans suffering from substance abuse. Resolution #155-16 approved a 2.5% rent increase for the family planning site in Wellsville. Resolution #156-16 approved a multi-jurisdictional agreement between Allegany County and Cattaraugus County for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014.

Resolution #157-16 approved an agreement with MJR Partners for the demolition of buildings and clearing of sites on three county-owned properties in the Village of Wellsville at a total cost of $54,300. Resolution #158-16 approved sub-contract agreements for 6 youth programs for a total of $20,444. Resolution #159-16 approved two one-year extensions of an agreement with First Transit, Inc. to deliver public transportation services for the County. The total cost for these services for 2017 will be $855,469, and for 2018 will be $878,994. Over the past several years these services have been provided without any contribution of local taxpayer funds. This represents a major savings for taxpayers. Finally, Resolution #160-16 approved the sale of about 85 tax delinquent properties that had gone through the tax foreclosure process conducted by the County Treasurer.

It goes without saying that our taxes are too high, and that all of us would like to see them reduced. Still, it is significant that during a difficult economic period our County has been able to get on a sound financial footing. We have built a reasonable fund balance, and reduced taxes. More remains to be done, but this is a good start.

 

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