Sandra K Reabuck
Cambria County ended 2011 in the black, a turnaround from a year ago when the audit showed a dismal $10 million deficit stemming from the sale of the county’s former nursing home.
Cambria’s $55.5 million general fund budget ended with a $500,000 surplus, but that was whittled down to $70,000 with deficits in some other funds, Joel Valentine, a partner in the accounting firm of Wessel & Co., said this week.
Cambria has about 50 funds, with expenditures of $184 million – much of that “in and out” from the state and federal governments and the county pension fund.
County Controller Ed Cernic Jr. said that the positive ending balance was realized with a $1.4 million infusion into the general fund.
The money came from a surplus in the county’s self-insured workers compensation fund with the sale of Laurel Crest, the county nursing home.
With the release of the findings this week, the county was able to meet its self-imposed completion deadline, which is today.
The commissioners, who took office in January, had said the audit likely wouldn’t be done until September because a finance director was not yet aboard to draw up the required management analysis.
Mike Gelles, who retired in March as Cambria’s chief clerk/finance director, had performed that task.
Valentine said that Wessel assisted David Knepper, the county’s new chief clerk, in drawing up that analysis for the 2011 audit.
“The county is in pretty good financial health. (The surplus) gives a fresh start for the commissioners. There are some hills to climb, but it’s a fresh slate,” Valentine said.
The commissioners, saying that they are closely examining all expenditures, pointed out that Cambria is losing population at a time when the state and federal governments are cutting back on reimbursements for programs.
Tax revenues, including delinquent collections, were up $3.5 million, or 11 percent, to $36 million, Valentine said. But 10 percent of that increased revenue was attributed to the 2.6 mill property tax increase, he said.
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