Sound Management Helped Oneida County Finish 2010 With Budget Surplus

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. and Oneida County Comptroller Joseph J. Timpano today announced that final reporting of Oneida County’s fiscal position at the end of 2010 show that the county achieved a budget surplus of $736,000.

“The fact that we ended the year with a budget surplus is the result of making tough management decisions all year long, in every department,” Picente said. “In the current climate facing county government, I want to extend my personal thanks to the many county workers whose diligence and extra effort helped us achieve this important milestone. These are very difficult times that demand all of us to do more with less. More than anything else, this number says that we are up to the challenge – a challenge that s not going to go away in 2011 or any other time in the near future.”

Due to the ever-growing load of state mandates, Oneida County’s budgets require the use of fiscal reserves to offset mandated costs and reduce the tax burden on property owners. In 2010, the County had anticipated an operating deficit of $5.6 million, but ended the year with a deficit of $4.8 million. Some factors contributing to the budget surplus include positive variances in the enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage funding (FMAP) and Sales Tax. The County had budgeted $7.6 million for the FMAP funding in 2010 but received more than that due to the receipt of funding that had been previously withheld by NYS for 2009-2010. Sales tax revenues also exceeded the budgeted estimate by $1.2 million. In addition, payroll and utilities expenses were under budget by $1.2 million and $ .6 million respectively. Unfavorable budget variances included retirement and health insurance expenses ($2.3 million) as well as various State Aid revenue reductions.
 
“If I wanted to summarize the numbers, it comes down to this: mandates that increase beyond our control are continually threatening our financial position, while we are responding by reducing costs in every way possible,” Picente said. “In a fiscal climate where we keep taking hits, we keep fighting back and standing tall.”
 
Comptroller Timpano added “Although we are encouraged by the positive trend in 2010 and 2011 sales tax receipts we must remain diligent in monitoring spending, especially given the ongoing uncertainty of State and Federal reimbursements and mandated programs. Retirement and health care costs in particular will continue to be challenges that the county will face in 2011 and beyond. We continue to seek a balance between the welfare of our employees and the level of essential services that they provide to the public.”