More spending on the way for county capital projects

JAMESTOWN — Chautauqua County will be spending more money than usual on capital projects in 2019 because of a change in their accounting method.

On Wednesday, the Chautauqua County Planning Board heard about the $4 million in the tentative 2019 budget for 27 capital projects. Kathleen Dennison, county budget director, said the $4 million being budgeted toward capital projects is more than county officials have funded the last couple years.

George Borrello, county executive, said the reason more money is going toward capital projects is because of an accounting change following an audit that indicated the more funds should have been placed in capital reserves instead of the undesignated fund balance, which is the county’s savings account.

The a majority of the funding will go toward replacing heavy equipment and vehicles. Borrello said because county officials are going to be buying new equipment and vehicles next year, they are budgeting a savings in maintenance, which will decrease with more modern items.

Additional projects include Health and Human Services teleconference installation, emergency services training and a new fire investigation vehicle purchase, improvements to the Sherman Public Facilities Department fuel shop and Sheriff’s Office camera and computer server upgrades.

Dennison said one project for the County Board of Elections is to purchase 10 new voting machines at $10,000 apiece to upgrade software. She said Board of Elections officials would like to purchase 10 new voting machines each year to replace older ones. She added that county officials decided to buy new machines because the cost to upgrade software for the old ones is similar in cost.Some of the capital projects proposed for the 2019 budget will not be funded. Dennison said these include fuel system upgrade for the Falconer Public Facilities Department facility, a mail scanner for the county jail and improved courthouse lighting.

“As we go through the budget process, we will probably have a few tweaks, but this is what we are looking to do,” Borrello said.