Following heated debate over changes to the 2017 Broome County budget, Executive-elect Jason Garnar is weighing in on the issue.
On Monday night, Broome County Executive Debbie Preston vetoed three of seven alterations made by the Legislature.
The Leg overrided her veto and went forward with changes that include funding cuts to Willow Point Nursing Home, adding a Legislative Clerk position and restoring the 50/50 sales tax split between the County and municipalities.
Garnar says the $1.4 million being taken from the County’s reserve fund is not a fiscally responsible decision.
“If we have a $370 million budget, we should have a $37 million fund balance. We don’t have anywhere near that. Last night, the legislature took a very bad fund balance and made it even worse,” said Garnar.
Next year’s fund balance, or reserves, is expected to be between $1 million and $2 million, down from between $5 million and $6 million.
Broome County Legislative Chairman Dan Reynolds says Willow Point is losing over $340,00 in revenue.
He says the Nursing Home’s Executive Director gave the cuts the green light.
“I asked him in the budget hearing whether or not the changes would effect patient care or day-to-day operations and he said ‘No.’ I asked him twice just to make sure that it wouldn’t effect patient care or operations and he said that it ‘Absolutely would not,'” said Reynolds.
Reynolds says the cuts were made due to an overestimation of staffing costs.
Garnar has challenged Reynolds to find $1.4 million dollars in cuts to offset the reductions to the reserves.
Reynolds says the budget is already balanced.