Cash reserves begin to add up

Erie County’s piggy bank is plumper than an award-winning fair hog.
Andy Ouriel
Oct 7, 2013

 

County officials expect to grow their savings or reserves account by 21 percent in the next five years.

The amount should balloon from $5.6 million today to $6.8 million by 2017, according to financial forecasts.

“With our debt at $99 million, our credit level is dependent on cash reserves,” Erie County commissioner Pat Shenigo said. “We will be able to maintain lower interest rates when borrowing money with the existing cash reserves.”

Furthermore, officials saved an additional $2 million in a “rainy day fund” specifically for emergency purposes.

The savings is even more impressive, when considering:

• Erie County’s budget totals $26 million. The budget covers day-to-day operations, including sheriff and court operations.

• Officials only projected one year-end deficit, totaling $9,000, from now through 2017. In all other years, commissioners project year-end surpluses ranging from $331,000 to $484,000.

• Commissioners haven’t laid anyone off or cut back on any services. “We continue to adjust our expenses with the cooperation of our employees and other elected officials,” Shenigo said. The philosophy of accruing savings radically differs from a mindset commissioners embodied just a few years ago.

In 2008, for instance, commissioners created a $2.5 million deficit and dwindled the reserves to $2.6 million — a shockingly low amount, considering they saved it up to $5.3 million in 2007. Since 2010, however, the bottom line has produced an extra $3 million in savings. “Any good government should run like a good business,” Erie County commissioner Bill Monaghan said. “We should run not to make a profit, but our revenues must meet our expenses.”

Tax hike
Commissioners, however, voted to temporarily increase the sales tax rate tacked onto taxable goods in Erie County. The 0.5 percent increase, raising from 6.75 percent to 7.25 percent, went into effect Tuesday.

An increase should create $7 million of revenue to address crumbling infrastructure throughout Erie County. “This is not going for wages,” Monaghan said. “This is not for fluff and other stuff. This is for things we need to fix up.” The tax boost should increase Erie County’s bottom line to $33 million in 2014. From 2015 through 2017, meanwhile, the yearly budget should hover around $26 million.

The sales tax is scheduled to be eliminated, dropping back to 6.75 percent in October 2014.

Lingering concerns
Commissioners remained concerned about several factors impacting the budget, chief among them, paying for expensive murder trials.

The average murder trial fully playing out costs local taxpayers $300,000 — and that’s before automatic appeals, which could elevate to $1 million split between state taxpayers.

County-based public defenders are preparing for two death penalty cases starting in the coming weeks: Michael Milner, accused of killing his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son; and Curtis Clinton, who allegedly murdered a woman and her two children.

Scheduling pay raises for employees, covering higher costs for health insurance and maintaining present-day staffing levels, are among the other budget challenges that still need worked through.

Comments

The Big Dog's back

Thank God for the Obama economy or they would still be sinking.

Sam

Typical democrapppers, they raise taxes to fund pet projects, all without the voters consent, piddle puppy type of politicians.

0_0

Americans have suffered at the hands of these animals, thanks to liberal chimp huggers.

Erie County Resident

Pay attention piddles puppy, they aren't sinking.
Your master trashed economy has nothing to do with this but don't let that get in the way of facts.
But unlike your masters economy the county is pretty stable so let's raise taxes just because. Good thinking... NOT!!!
What do you want to bet in 2014 the taxes don't go back down like they are telling us.

The Big Dog's back

I know reading comprehension isn't at the top of your list, but try re-reading the article.

Centauri

"Erie County’s piggy bank is plumper than an award-winning fair hog."

Sounds like a "feel good" news story.

How about reporting on under-valued properties in Erie County, Ohio? Others in the county have over-valued properties and are forced to pay extra property taxes to make up the difference. I still think about that poor man (since passed away) who had to pay full value on a fire damaged home.

Since Erie County (OHIO) is in partnership with a ferry company, how is that partnership coming along?

http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/...
"In Ohio, the largest grant -- $2.72 million -- went to a partnership of the Kelleys Island ferry operator and Erie County, to build a 160-foot vessel."

"This week's grant is in addition to $1 million in federal funds received last year. The ferry-line operator is expected cover most of the remaining cost."

"This vessel will have more capacity than the current ones," said Erie County Commissioner Patrick Shenigo. "I'd like to see it built here in Northeast Ohio."

"The busy line handles about 175,000 passengers and 60,000 vehicles annually, according to the grant application."

Jim Palladino?

Research that name and the Kelleys Island ferry.

http://clevelandmob.com/warofwas...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kel...
"Currently, the Kelleys Island Ferry is the only line that runs year-round (weather permitting) between the island and the mainland. The boat line is owned by James "Jim" Palladino and his family.[32] In the past, Palladino has been tied to the Cleveland Mafia."

It is what it is.

Centauri

http://www.clevelandmob.com/waro...
"According to police reports, the only witness to Frato’s killing was his driver on that fateful day, close friend
August "Gus" Palladino -- the older cousin of an up-and-coming garbage hauler named James August Palladino.
August Palladino, a reputed loanshark and gambling organizer with links to mobsters in Cleveland and
Youngstown, didn’t dispute the police report made by Greene."

Centauri

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/discreti...

Ohio 2010
Kelleys Island Ferry New Vessel Construction, Erie and Ottawa Counties
$2,000,000

Ohio 2011
Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Replacement
$2,720,000

Julie R.

"Sounds like a "feel good" news story."

You got that right!

"How about reporting on under-valued properties in Erie County, Ohio?"

Agree, agree, agree!

"Since Erie County (OHIO) is in partnership with a ferry company, how is that partnership coming along?"

I'm really curious to know, too!

James Palladino ........ and Pat Shenigo. Any relation to each other? Probably not, maybe it's the last names both ending in a vowel that threw me off.

fredinperkins

I understand why there is a county office building in Sandusky since that is the county seat. Why is there a county facilities building on Columbus Ave. in Perkins Township? Certainly the few county employees that are assigned there could be accommodated into the county building in Sandusky.
Don't know if that building would be considered "fluff and stuff," but it sure seems that there is a lot of vacant, underutilized space. What is the cost to maintain that "infrastructure"?

bobshumway92

There's a lot of plumpers in Erie County.

hilltop

. . . . and the big secret is, how much cash is the County getting from casino revenues . . . .