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Monroe County Approves Budget, Inspite of Dissenting Vote

Monroe County Council members passed the 2011 budget yesterday.  The budget included a 1-and-a-half-percent raise for county employees and requires some spending from reserves. Council President Geoff McKim says excluding any one-time expenditures, like paying for this year’s required reassessment, the council will have to spend about 875-thousand dollars more than officials expect to receive in revenue. McKim says that’s a sustainable amount and he says that’s because often departments don’t spend all of the money in their budgets resulting in left-over cash or “reversions” at the end of the year.

“Reversions can be as much as 2.3 million dollars in 2009, it was a little bit less the year before, but they always hover between a million and 2 and a half million.” said McKim.

Any unspent money in the departments’ budgets goes back the council, essentially replacing some of the earlier appropriated reserves. But Council member Marty Hawk who voted against the council’s budget appropriation ordinance says she doesn’t think it’s wise to spend so much especially signs point to a worse year next year.

“We believed we had about 5-million dollars to get us through five years.” said Hawk “That does not mean you spend  a million dollars a year. You have to look at which year do you need more money. You’re working on a scale of making sure that in 2012 and 2013 when you’re going to need more money that we leave that money there and that we don’t take out the whole million.”

Next officials will send the budget on to the Department of Local Government Finance for final approval.

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