Thursday, August 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Montco could end 2014 with a budget deficit

Montgomery County could end 2014 with a $1.4 million operating deficit, Chief Financial Officer Uri Z. Monson told county commissioners Thursday.

More money than expected was spent from January through March because of the severe weather and a delay in completing the sale of the county's Parkhouse nursing home complex, Monson told commissioners.

He offered those numbers at a routine commissioners meeting, where he gave the year's first-quarter budget update.

If expenses and revenues were to stay at the first-quarter levels through all of 2014, the county could end the year with the deficit.

But that's not likely to happen, officials said.

"I'm not at all concerned," Commissioner Josh Shapiro said. "We're going to make changes so that at the end of the year, we'll have a balanced budget or a modest surplus."

The county's improving housing market could bring in unanticipated revenue to help cover the first quarter's shortfall, Monson said after the meeting. State and federal funding also could wipe out the deficit.

Even though the numbers he gave Thursday are a point-in-time snapshot, quarterly projections can help officials guide the budget, Monson said. "It's not how you start, it's how you finish," he said.

In 2013, the county finished with an operating surplus of $1.6 million, records show.

- Carolyn Davis

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