It's as true for governments as it is for your own family: When income exceeds expenditures you're on the right financial path.
Erie County commissioners Pat Shenigo and Bill Monaghan have again shown that sound financial planning pays off. Since 2010, the county shaved from the budget enough to build a $3 million budget surplus and the five-year financial forecast through 2017 shows that trend continuing in a robust way.
Previous county budgets were frequently in the red for years and helped create a debt for county taxpayers of $130 million at its peak. That has been reduced to $99 million since Monaghan and Shenigo teamed up to change how things get done.
In addition, they spearheaded a temporary sales tax hike — despite the political risk — that will create $7 million in revenue to address needed infrastructure repairs and upgrades, including substantial repairs to the Erie County courthouse, the sheriff's office and other venues.
Commissioner Tom Ferrell, in his seventh term, was part of all the past commissioner boards that voted expenditures that ballooned the debt, has voted with Monaghan and Shenigo on many of these new initiatives. But he did not spearhead any of them, and he also voted against the temporary tax hike.
Putting the county on a sound financial footing will enable it to make more sound investments in the future at a lower cost. It's the best way we can think of to improve and build on the assets there are in the county create jobs, build community and improve the quality of life.
Give credit where credit is due. Both Monaghan and Shenigo have done what they said they would do when running for office: Treat the county's finances as a business, rather than an unlimited bank account.
Well done, gentleman.