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Undesignated funds hit $21.7 million

LITTLE VALLEY -- Cattaraugus County's surplus funds rose $4 million last year, giving the county $21.7 million in undesignated money, according to Treasurer Joseph G. Keller.

In presenting his end-of-the-year report to legislators Wednesday, Keller said that when the books were closed for 2009, the total surplus fund had risen to $27,346,000, compared with $21,569,000 at the end of 2008, an increase of 26.8 percent.

Of the $27 million, $21,758,000 was not committed, compared with the year before when $16,834,000 was available -- an increase of $4,924,000.

Keller said there were several factors contributing to the numbers:

*In Social Services, revenue came in $307,000 over budget, and the expenses came in under budget by $2 million.

*Interest revenue exceeded budgeted amounts of $1.4 million by $138,000.

*Self-insured fund revenues were over budget by $1.2 million, with expenses $1.3 million under budget.

*Awards for worker's compensation benefits were $1.8 million over budget.

*Occupancy tax revenue was over the budget estimate of $550,000 by $63,388.

When planning for the 2009 budget, the county used $1.5 million from surplus, which was not needed. The county did not have to transfer any money to subsidize operations at the county's two nursing homes in Olean and Machias.

As a result of the listed factors, Keller said, the county finished 2009 with an operating surplus of $21.7 million which represents about 17 percent of the budget.

Keller said the amount is in line with auditing recommendations of 15 percent.
In another presentation, Social Services Commissioner Wendy Bourgeois updated legislators on 2009 activities in her department.
Clients seeking temporary assistance last year rose significantly between February and Dec. 31, representing payments of $2.5 million. Nearly 1,000 more people needed food stamps, pushing annual totals to over 4,000 clients amid payments of $14 million.

Medicaid assistance cases totaled near 9,100 for last year and indicated a surge in December and a total expenditure of $119.3 million.

The Social Services budget of $156,678,280 is 58.3 percent federally funded, 29.5 from the state, 10.6 from the county, with 1.5 percent in repayments by individuals.

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