LITTLE VALLEY – Cattaraugus County Legislature received a portion of the financial audit for the county in 2013 before Wednesday’s meeting and was told the county was in solid fiscal shape.
“If I were to give you a letter grade, I’d give you a pretty good grade,” Thomas Malecki of Drescher & Maleki, of Buffalo, said. “You are stable, so I would give you an ‘A’.”
Presenting highlights from the forthcoming full audit, as it awaits some final pieces of financial data, Maleki said the county is in a solid position, fiscally, with a five-year trend showing a fiscal responsibility taking hold.
Maleki said the county has been able to keep spending down over the last five years, going back to 2009. Because of flooding in Gowanda in 2009, the numbers are inflated to show revenues of $167 million, with expenditures of $162 million. A large portion of that revenue and spending was pass-through for repairs to the flood-ravaged village. Since that point, spending has stayed in line, ranging from $154 million in 2010, falling a bit to $155 million, and then $158 in 2012 and 2013. Revenue for the county has stayed on an uptick, moving from a deficit year in 2010 with $154 million, $2 million less than spending, to the 2013 $168 million level.
For 2013, Cattaraugus County carried a full budget of $168 million in the general fund and $190 million of total revenue. The incoming side of the ledger held about $10 million more than was expected, with about $6 million in casino revenue share funds coming in toward the end of 2013, Maleki said.
According to the calculations, on the debt side, per capita, in Cattaraugus County, each person would be paying $597 a year to bring the revenues to the same level as what is being paid out.
“The county is in a stable position,” Maleki said. “Everyone is facing similar issues. You have relied on your budget process, and, to date, it has been successful.
“Overall, I would be pretty comfortable with where you are, for a while,” he continued.” The county has the highest fund balance in five years; you have controlled spending.”
The full audit report is expected to be completed in mid- July, Maleki said.