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Erie County Comptroller declares budget deficit for county

Posted at 9:20 AM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 20:22:15-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw announced that he's declaring a budget deficit for the county.

The comptroller declared the deficit under Erie County Charter Section 2511, which states the following

If at any time during the fiscal year it appears, from cash flow projections or other generally accepted accounting principles, that the revenues available, as projected through the end of the fiscal year, will be insufficient to meet either (a) the amounts appropriated, or (b) expenses anticipated to be incurred through the end of the fiscal year, such that the cumulative effect thereof is a projected year-end deficit in excess of fifty percent of the county's undesignated, unreserved fund balance as of the end of the immediately preceding fiscal year, the county executive or the comptroller shall submit a 83 report to the Legislature setting forth the estimated amount of the deficit with appropriate details and explanations. Within seven days of the submission of such a report to the Legislature, the county executive shall present a written proposal of actual remedies to overcome the deficit. The comptroller shall provide the Legislature with written comments on the county executive's proposed actions within seven days of the submission of the remedial proposal to the Legislature. The Legislature shall take under consideration the proposed remedial actions and comments presented by the comptroller and take such action as it deems necessary to prevent or minimize the deficit. Should the Legislature fail to act within twenty-one days of presentation of the written proposal of remedial actions by the county executive, the county executive's proposal shall be deemed adopted. In the event the deficit is declared and remedial actions are taken by the county executive and/ or the Legislature, no appropriation for debt service may be reduced and no appropriation may be reduced by more than the unencumbered balance thereof or below any amount required to be appropriated.

Mychajliw projects that sales tax revenue in Erie County will fail to achieve budgeted revenue by $127,933,095.

According to the comptroller, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is obligated by the charter to provide the Erie County Legislature “a written proposal of actual remedies to overcome the deficit” in seven days.

Following those seven days, the Erie County Comptroller will have seven days to submit "written comments" concerning the County Executive's plan.

Afterwards, the Erie County Legislature will have 21 days to act on the comptroller’s written comments and the county executive’s deficit correction plan.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz responded during his daily briefing on Monday. He called the declaration premature, and said the county hadn't yet received sales tax reports from April. He added the county saw a $2.4 million surplus in its first quarter.

However, last week, Poloncarz asked each of the county departments to make 13.1% cuts across the board.

Poloncarz said he hopes federal funding will put the county in better financial standing, and said any proposed cuts wouldn't be needed immediately.