Committee recommends $1.25M in changes

MAYVILLE – Of four budget recommendations by the Human Services and Public Safety committees last week, only one has passed Audit and Control.

Last week, the Human Services Committee recommended cutting out more than $1 million in Intergovernmental Transfer Funding for the Chautauqua County Home. With the IGT funding intact, the budget had shown revenues for the County Home to be $19,484,593, and expenditures to be $20,032,911. Without the funding, the home will suffer a potentially larger loss.

Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards had also placed an additional $500,000 in the budget for the Office of the Aging. The Human Services Committee recommended bringing the amount down to $250,000 in additional revenue to the OFA.

The 2013 amended budget for the OFA was $770,074. Edwards’ tentative budget showed a total of $1,530,461 in local share.

The Human Services Committee also recommended adding two officers to probation. Kitty Crow, budget director, predicted each officer would cost between $55,000-$65,000, including benefits.

The Probation Office budget for 2013 was $1,649,770. Edwards’ tentative budget had increased to $1,670,599, without the addition of the officers.

Last week, the Public Safety Committee had made the recommendation to add a .49 full-time-equivalent position for an investigator for the Public Defender’s Office.

The Public Defender’s Office also saw an increase between its 2013 amended budget, which was $1,236,041, and Edwards’ tentative budget, which was $1,295,406.

After being reviewed by the Audit and Control Committee, only the recommendation for the removal of the IGT funding was recognized.

“We approved no increase of anything at this point,” said John Runkle, R-Stockton, chairman of the Audit and Control Committee.

The committee also made a $200,000 cut to Safety Net funding, which is associated with Welfare to Work funding, to bring the day’s total recommended cuts to $1.25 million.

Although the committee did not grant any additional funding to the budget, Runkle said there is still potential the changes will appear in the final budget.

“The ones that failed, they can be brought up in front of the full legislature,” he said.

“Anything can be brought up to the full legislature, as a budget amendment. The way we constructed the system is that the individual committees would give their recommendations to us, and then we would vote on them and that would go to the full legislature. They have that opportunity later to resubmit these things. The process is not over by any means. We’re closer to accomplishing our mission, which would be to keep a neutral tax levy.”

Edwards unveiled his tentative $230.8 million budget to legislators Sept. 25. His budget reflected a 3.4 percent increase to the tax levy, bringing it from $62,135,666 in 2013 to $64,263,004 in 2014.

The committee meets today to hear from the Public Facilities, Administrative Services and Planning and Economic Development committees. Wednesday, it will meet to make final changes and draft a budget recommendation.