Saturday, April 16, 2005

Allegheny County reports $140,000 surplus in 2004 - Outlandish reporting calls that an erase of debt

This reporting raises red flags. In 2003 -- the County's annual budget was down $29.7 Million. In 2004 -- the County's budget was $140,000 up.

So, the PG reports an ERASED $29.7 million deficit.

Why not report that the county ERASED a $100-billion deficit?

Another example. Say a family has a year, 2003, where it must go into new debt to the tune of $29K (not $29M.) Then in 2004, the family gets over the hump and is able to earn enough to get by and end the year with $100 left over. It seems to me that the family's debt of $29K from 2003 is still going to be rather large. By breaking even, perhaps payments were maintained, but the debt isn't ERASED.

Did I miss read the facts of the matter. Did Allegheny County really ERASE $29M by making up the debt from the prior year and paying that and still ending up with an extra $140K?

Sure, the finances came back to where they should be. Perhaps that can be called a great turnaround. But, let's not forget that debt from the prior years.

From the front page of the PG: Allegheny County erased $29.7 million deficit in '04 -- Allegheny County's finances saw a significant turnaround in 2004, finishing the year with a $140,000 surplus after a $29.7 million deficit the previous year, Controller Mark Patrick Flaherty said yesterday. The elimination of the shortfall was done through jobs cuts, attrition and a $16.2 million increase in revenue.

Allegheny County reports $140,000 surplus in 2004: "Layoffs, rise in revenue help erase $29.7 million in red ink.

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