Picente: Commitment to Fiscal Stability Helped Oneida County Finish 2011 With Surplus

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. today announced that the most recent estimates of Oneida County’s fiscal position at the end of 2011 show that the county expects to compile a surplus of $6,044,000.

“Let me tell you what we did: we spent less,” Picente said. “Even before the year began, we were making reductions in a very tough 2011 budget. The biggest costs in government are for the people who provide the services, and we had to face those big cost areas head-on. That’s why our 2011 numbers show that we were below projections in key areas such as payroll, health insurance and retirement costs. The fact that we ended the year with a surplus is the result of making tough management decisions all year long, in every department.”

Oneida County Comptroller Joseph Timpano said that the surplus is the result of sound financial management. “Good management rises to the challenges that come about, and we have risen to the challenges that we face year after year by successfully staying within our means,” Timpano said.  “Strong fiscal controls and strong fiscal management have put us in a position where we have a sound bottom line and are operating efficiently and effectively. Every dollar we save through sound fiscal practices is a dollar that we don’t have to ask the taxpayers to contribute.”

Picente said that managing the county budget requires day-in, day-out oversight that begins with front-line workers and permeates 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. The needs of the people do not go away; instead we had to use ingenuity and creativity to help those who need the services only county government can provide, and still live well within our means.”

Picente said that the surplus, coupled with the recent affirmation of strong county credit ratings, is important for the people of Oneida County. “The bedrock question when the people evaluate their government is whether county government has been a sound fiscal steward. I think these results affirm that we have not simply made fiscal stability a goal in difficult times; we are achieving that goal, year in and year out even as costs increase. It is vitally important that county government have a sound fiscal foundation so that we can move forward and address key issues in our community.

Picente cautioned that 2011’s surplus does not mean 2012’s fiscal situation is suddenly changed. “I have been managing for a long-term result, and that result is to hold down the costs of government while providing services that people cannot live without, and addressing the rising cost of state mandates. We are seeing positive signs, through some actions the state has taken and the hard work we have achieved, but to relax fiscal discipline just when it is starting to show some results would be to throw away all that we have accomplished in these years.”