County Executive Prepares For Difficult Challenge In Balancing Budget

MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello said his goal is to present a balanced budget to the County Legislature for the 2019 fiscal year, all while avoiding the usage of fund balance and keeping the property tax rate the same.
Borrello said that he’s met with each county department head to discuss how they could ultimately meet the challenge of accomplishing such goal.
“I gave them all (department heads) a goal. I would like to deliver a budget to the County Legislature that’s a balanced budget that does not use fund balance for recurring expenses and does not raise the property tax rate,” Borrello said. “Now that’s a difficult task. It hasn’t been done in a long time, so that’s a challenge.”
The county head said each department has a designated financial target that will allow the overall goal to succeed.  Borrello said most, but not all, departments have reached such goal.

Stock image by Justin Gould/WNYNewsNow.

“Each department got a target for their budget so we could achieve that goal. So far, as far a number of departments that have reported, they’ve achieved that goal,” Borrello said. “Now, unfortunately, there were some significant ones that were not able to achieve that goal, and those are the challenges we have to face, but we’ve got some other ideas and strategies for savings, so I’m going to work hard to deliver on that.”
Borrello discussed how he’s used various economic theories and strategies in meetings and negotiations with various department heads.
“One thing that I told the department heads was that, as a business person, I subscribe to the bushel full of pennies theory. A penny by itself is nothing. Most people wouldn’t bend over and pick up a penny off of the sidewalk, but if you fill a bushel full of pennies, that’s approximately $332.”
The main point, Borrello says, is that a large, complex budget allows officials to have a better chance at saving extra money from being spent.
“My point is, there’s so many opportunities in a budget as large as ours, with literally thousands and thousands of line-items, to save a little amount of money,” Borrello stated. “If we could do that, if everyone finds those small opportunities, those will add up to significant savings.”
Ideas are being presented, and everyone is attempting to utilize the bushel full of pennies concept, according to Borrello.
“We are getting that. We are getting ideas from every department, and everyone is participating in this bushel full of pennies idea,” Borrello said. “If we could all look for these opportunities, and everyone scowers the budget, looking for little  opportunities, then we can avoid doing things that would be disruptive and painful.”
“I’m hopeful that we can balance this budget off of those pennies and without having to talk about laying people off, or things like that, those painful things we hopefully shouldn’t have to do.”