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Budget surplus drops $2 million from 2010

Surplus funds for Cattaraugus County at the close of 2010 totaled $24.8 million a decrease of $2 million, according to Treasurer Joseph G. Keller.

Keller delivered an end-of-the year report to the Legislature's Finance Committee on Wednesday. By comparison the surplus fund rose by 26.8 percent from 2008 to 2009.

Of the $24.8 million, $19.8 million is not designated, compared with $21.7 million available in 2009, a decrease of $1.9 million.

Keller identified factors contributing to the numbers.

The county's self-insured health benefits revenue came in $119,000 over budget, with expenses at $2.8 million, for surplus of $2.9 million.

The budgeted amount for workers' compensation benefits and awards was $858,000, under budget.

Sales taxes exceeded the budgeted amount by $480,511.

For the second consecutive year, no money was needed to subsidize the county's nursing homes in Olean and Machias -- unlike in previous years.

The spending plan appropriated $6.9 million from the fund balance for the 2010 budget, but only $2 million was used.

Also, the county had a shortfall of about $1 million in Tribal Compact tax-immune proceeds -- casino revenues -- which the Seneca Nation failed to pay to the state, but the county budgeted.

As a result of those factors, Keller said, the county finished the year with a fund balance of $19.8 million, which represents about 13 percent of the total budget.

"The county finished 2010 in a very solid fiscal condition," Keller said. "Rather than bond for road and bridge work, the county paid cash."

The 2010 budget totaled $157.2 million.

At this time the county owes $67.1 million in bonding debts, including interest, up from $63.5 million in 2009.

The 2010 budget authorized $100,000 bond borrowing, but it was not used.

In a breakdown of $33.7 million -- the total collected on the county's 8 percent sales -- $14.7 million went into the general fund, $9 million was allocated to the road fund (coming from the extra penny of the sales tax), $9.8 million went to towns, villages and cities as their share.

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