MAYVILLE - A resolution that would throw the Chautauqua County Home a $1 million lifeline was tabled during the County Legislature's full-body meeting Wednesday.
The resolution calls for a $500,000 appropriation from the county's fund balance to match an intergovernmental transfer, totaling more than $1 million.
The local share payment has been made for the last several years; however, the legislature cut the funding during 2012 budget negotiations due to budget worries.
Before the vote, Rose Conti - CSEA Unit 6300 president - urged the legislature to consider the local share payment. As she has done in previous meetings, Conti reminded legislators of County Home residents and workers who would be affected by the facility's sale or lease.
The County Home is currently being marketed for private sale.
"Tonight I am asking that you not delay continuing to do the right thing for the residents of the Chautauqua County Home," Conti said. "I think we have taken a positive turn and I think we need to continue to do that."
However, once the resolution was up for discussion, Legislator Chuck Nazzaro, D-Jamestown, requested it be tabled after making a brief statement.
Nazzaro said he pushed to remove IGT funding in the fall due to budget restraints at the time, which included getting the county under its 2 percent tax cap. However, he noted the county's financial standing has changed since then.
"We are at a much stronger financial position, fund balance-wise, than what we thought we were at the end of 2011," Nazzaro said.
Kitty Crow, county budget director, announced last month nearly $10 million in 2011 budget reconciliations. Most of that cash, she said, will go toward the county's fund balance.
Supporters of the IGT payment point to the surplus as validation of the local share payment.
But Nazzaro suggested the legislature revisit the resolution next month once the County Home's financial officer, Colleen Wright, had a chance to review what additional IGT funding would do for the home.
If approved, the County Home could receive as much as $3.6 million in revenue, however, that would force the county to front nearly $1.8 million of its own fund balance.
Any funding to the Dunkirk facility comes as Wright said the home would run out of cash by the middle of next year. She said the facility is expecting to face a $3.75 million budget shortfall, which would deplete its fund balance.
The resolution was met with some criticism in committees last week, where Vince Horrigan, R-Bemus Point, suggested the IGT payment be placed on hold until a financial review of the County Home was complete.
George Borrello, R-Irving, also voiced concern over the payment and suggested the resolution be tabled during an Audit and Control Committee meeting.
An ad-hoc committee formed earlier this year tapped the Center for Governmental Research to perform the financial study on the County Home.
The resolution was tabled Wednesday, with Minority Leader Lori Cornell, D-Jamestown; Assistant Minority Leader Robert Whitney, D-Jamestown; and Tim Hoyer, D-Jamestown, voting no.
Crow said the legislature has until June 20 to make its local share payment to the federal government.
Conti warned before the legislature adjourned that the county would be cutting it close to approve any funding by waiting until May to decide.
"I hope that you're prepared with an idea then and ready to go with plugging those figures in because I really believe it is the right direction to take," Conti said to Nazzaro.