County collecting less money

Erie County sees $1 million drop in revenue compared to 2008.
Andy Ouriel
Jan 2, 2014
Erie County officials can sympathize with the woeful Cleveland Browns based upon their perpetual losses in recent times.


   Financial documents show county officials collected $1.14 million less in 2013 versus 2008 when analyzing five major income sources.


   These five sources account for about 80 percent of Erie County’s $26 million everyday operating budget, coined the general fund. The general fund subsidizes various services, including sheriff, court and maintenance operations.


   Officials blamed drops in revenue on the Great Recession of 2008, crippling both the housing and stock markets, along with state officials scaling back on funding given to local governments.


   Among the most notable drops in revenue in 2013 compared to 2008: n County-based property taxes down $621,000. n Local government funds down $1.08 million. n Investment income — low-risk, low-yield, pre-approved bonds and CDs to create a revenue stream


   — down $1.79 million. Despite declining revenues, county officials have still produced a surplus in each year since 2009.


   To do so, commissioners implemented across-the-board cuts in most departments and halted all major projects, such as constructing water and sewer lines. These types of projects only occurred if officials could find money in the general fund without borrowing anymore cash.


   It’s a stark change from 2008, when revenues peaked and spending spun out of control.


   In 2008, the general fund ballooned to $30 million, a 13 percent increase compared to the $26 million annually spent today.


   Income, however, only countered at $27.5 million, creating about a $2.5 million year-end deficit in 2008.


   The county’s debt also reached to a record $116 million five years ago.


   But now, because commissioners Bill Monaghan and Pat Shenigo scrutinize each major purchase order, the county’s spending levels have significantly decreased, jibing with plunging revenue levels.


   “We made downward adjustments to the expense side of the general fund budget that have allowed us to manage these losses,” Erie County commissioner Pat Shenigo said.



Nothing wrong at all with commissioners scrutinizing each major purchase order. In fact that is just good business and its what commissioners should be doing.

Five years ago a county debt of 116 million and down to where it is today. That is truly amazing but in reality its just what good money managers in our families do as we live within our means.


How about when the county pays employees for not working? Snow days, days when the president comes to town campaigning, etc. Make them take vacation time, that's what other government offices do.


How about collecting the legally owed money from the Obama campaign. Romney paid his security expense. King Obummer did not.


Wasn't there an article a few weeks ago claiming the counties revenue was up? So what is it???

Brick Hamland

The article only considers 5 sources, or 80% of income. What about the other sources, the additional 20%? Seems like an article that is missing information. At least it starts with one of Andy's trademark references to something totally unrelated to the story.