To The Editor:
A new Fund Balance Policy has been put into place at the county level; a policy that will control millions of taxpayer dollars.
It will control the trigger points of a high and a low point for the county fund balance.
Now you as a taxpayer would think that something with that high a priority would have to have the approval of the full Legislative body and that it would be drafted by a bipartisan coalition of equal number of party members.
The full Legislature has to vote on the hours of work for county workers for a two-month period in the full Legislature.
The full Legislature has to vote on the standard work day for county workers, but we don’t have to vote on a policy that affects millions of taxpayer dollars!
A couple years ago we voted on a resolution that allowed policies to be set by committee and not the full legislative body.
I don’t think anyone ever thought that a policy of this magnitude would come forth and not be put through to the full Legislature.
The New York State Comptroller’s office says the use of a percentage for the calculations of how much fund balance you should have on hand is not recommended.
Oswego County wants to use 8% as a low and 15% as a high.
That would be $16 million for a low and $30 million as a high.
The New York State Comptroller’s office suggests that a minimum of two months of your monthly operating expenses be on hand. That would be $24.8 million for our county.
I’m suggesting we should keep 2 ½ months operating expenses on hand and that would be $30 million.
Right now, our county has $26 million in its fund balance and we are low on our reserves and the treasurer is suggesting putting $3 million into the reserves.
That would leave us at $23 million.
That is below the suggested minimum by the state and way below the minimum suggested by me.
Here is some history for you the taxpayer to digest.
Operating budget for the past two years:
• 2016- $11,848,000 a month or $142,180,000 a year-2 month buffer-$23,696,000-our fund balance that year was $20 million(to low by State Standards and also mine)
• 2017-$12,125,000 a month or $145,494,000 a year- 2-month buffer-$24,250,000-again our fund balance was $27 million(Good for State Standards low for mine)
• 2018- $12,394,00 a month or $148,723,000 a year-2-month buffer-$24,788,000-our fund balance is at $26 million but the treasure is suggesting moving $3 million into reserves leaving us a fund balance of $23 million(again to low by State Standards and also mine)
We are heading for a wakeup call of double digit tax increase very soon.
So in just 2 years the operating budget has gone up by $6 million dollars a year, or $500k a month.
Negotiations are under way with the nuke plants and also with the unions.
That would trigger a possible loss of revenue and a possible increase in operation expenses.
Minority Leader Frank Castiglia Jr.-D-25th District