County Ends Year With a Surplus
Current projections show the county ending with $10 to $15 million surplus.
The county’s Office of the Comptroller is projecting the county will end the year with anywhere from a $10 to $15 million surplus, largely due to federal CARES Act funding, and also measures taken to cut costs in county departments during the year.
The parks department has benefited from the unseasonably warm fall and winter. CJ Pahl, financial services manager for the county, told the county board’s finance committee this month that the parks’ deficit went from $1.4 million a few months ago to less than $300,000, largely due to revenues at county golf courses.
15 county departments are finishing the year with surpluses. The courts and the Department of Health and Human Services are both finishing the year with multi-million dollar surpluses.
All this is a complete reversal from what the comptroller and the county’s budget specialists were projecting back in March when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. At that time, the comptrollers office was projecting to finish 2020 with a $34 million deficit.
With the large surplus, the county plans to put the statutorily required $5 million into their debt reserve, $2.5 million to support the Miller Park testing site and $5 million into such pandemic-related costs for 2021 like Personal Protective Equipment, the COVID-19 care facility at the House of Correction, the emergency operations center and eviction prevention.
“This extension is helpful… However, this extension came with no additional funding,” County Executive David Crowley said Tuesday during a media briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the county will finish the year with a large surplus, it received and allocated approximately $77 million in federal CARES Act funding and it remains to be seen if any such funding will be provided in the coming year. The pandemic will continue to be a burden on local governments in 2021, as it is expected to take six months just to scale up vaccinations to the level that they can be available to the general public.
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