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Bucks County adjusts operating budget

By Emily Thiel, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 05 2012 09:16:17 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 05 2012 09:42:56 PM CST

Bucks County Commissioners approved the removal of the behavioral health fund from the county’s operating budget in order to reduce the cash reserves the county must carry. Bucks County's current policy requires the county to maintain 10% of the total operating budget in reserve.

The behavioral health fund will now be counted as a line item outside of the operating budget. The action by the Commissioners' reduced the overall operating budget from $467 million to $392 million.

"Our fund policy needs to be geared towards our operating budget," stated Commissioner Chair Robert G. Loughery, "We're basically doubling our reserve on the behavioral health dollars and we already have better than 10% coverage on that to begin with."

On the $75 million behavioral health dollars, the funds carry $11 million in reserve and the county is carrying another $7 million. The $11 million in cash reserve is put aside to cover a possible reduction in funding or additional problems that may arise.

By adopting the financial adjustments, the county is reserving around 20% of the general fund revenue. The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) suggests using 17% of general fund for reserve, which puts the county above the suggested limit.