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Budget surplus reported

September 21, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

Washington County government had a general fund surplus of more than $2.5 million for fiscal year 1999, according to preliminary results presented to the Washington County Commissioners Tuesday.

About $1 million had previously been allocated and the County Commissioners decided Tuesday what to do with the rest of the money.

The fiscal 1998 general fund surplus was about $4.5 million.

Budget and Finance Director Debra Bastian said she had expected the surplus to be between $2.5 million to $3 million.

She knew that real estate tax proceeds would be down over the prior fiscal year and they were by about $700,000, she said.

But Bastian said personal property tax proceeds was also down $500,000, which was a larger drop than she expected.

The County Commissioners voted earlier this year to use $1 million from the expected surplus to balance the budget for the current fiscal year, Bastian said.

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The commissioners voted to move $1 million of the surplus to the Capital Improvement Program and $500,000 to General Fund cash reserves for the current fiscal year, which began July 1.

Bastian also made predictions for the other county funds. The largest surplus and shortfall, other than the general fund, came for two of the three Washington County Water and Sewer Department funds.

The sewer fund had a $792,771 surplus, Bastian said.

The pretreatment fund had a $864,557 shortfall due to anticipated one-time costs, including a debt restructuring, she said.

The water fund had a $146,365 surplus.

The County Commissioners have been increasing water and sewer rates and subsidizing the three funds in order to pay off about $52 million in debt.

The County Commissioners have given the department's three funds $9.2 million in general fund grants since the county took over the Washington County Sanitary Commission in 1995.

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