MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Legislature will once again be seeking federal funding to help pay for the cost of operating the Chautauqua County Home in Dunkirk. On Wednesday night, lawmakers approved a resolution to apply for more than $2.6 million in funding from the federal Intergovernmental Transfer program, also known as IGT.
In order to receive the money, the county most also earmark $2.6 million in matching local funds, which will be coming out of the county’s unreserved fund balance. In all, more than $5.25 million will be requested to help cover the cost of operating the county home.
County Executive Vince Horrigan had asked the legislature to consider applying for the funding. He said that that by receiving the IGT money, it will help to close a looming $7 million budget gap.
“It’s going to net us the money we need to help us through this year, but the comments (from legislators) are exactly right as we look at the five-year projection (for county finances),” Horrigan said. “We have a mismatch of recurring revenue and recurring expenses and we’ve got to close that, so I’m looking at many, many different options.”
The application for the funding comes six months after the legislature approved the sale of the county home to VestraCare. However, the ownership has not been finalized and the county is still operating the home, meaning it will qualify for IGT funds. But as Jamestown Legislator and Audit & Control Committee member Chuck Nazzaro explains, the IGT money will have to stay with the county home until after the sale is final.
“Any IGT funding we get, will have to go to the County Home’s fund balance,” Nazzaro explained to WRFA following Wednesday’s meeting. “Once the sale is finalized, we’ll have to close out the books (for the home), which will happen in early 2015. So what’s ever left of the assets – which will include this IGT money – can then be transferred to the Chautauqua County fund balance, and technically there’s no restrictions on what that money can be used for once its been transferred.”
During the 2014 budget deliberations that took place last fall, lawmakers at that time had decided to include a request for IGT funding in the budget. The reasoning was that if included in the final budget, the local match for IGT would come by way of property taxes. Lawmakers say that by waiting until now to request IGT, the local contribution doesn’t come from the tax levy, but instead form the county’s unreserved fund balance.