Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato last week announced that efforts by department directors and employees to reduce costs and streamline government are paying off.

The county’s 2007 comprehensive annual financial report shows that its undesignated fund balance grew to $20.3 million in 2007 from $17.4 million the previous year, an increase of 17%.

“Even in tough financial times, my administration continues to increase the county’s fund balance and hold the line on property taxes,” Onorato said in a statement. “As we’ve done since 2004, my administration will continue to live within our means while providing efficient and effective services, take appropriate annual steps to address our costs, and maintain the county’s fund balance.”

Onorato’s cost-saving and government efficiency efforts include reducing Allegheny’s long-term debt by employing short-term borrowing to cover costs that are covered by federal and state reimbursements, such as road and bridge repair, he said.

Additionally, the county is continuing to realize efficiencies and savings from the consolidation of offices, which has brought more than $1.1 million of annual savings so far in 2008.

The county is also streamlining emergency response services, which saves municipal governments $3.5 million annually, according to Onorato.

Onorato also has pushed to reduce costs and increase revenues at the four Kane Regional Centers, which offer residential nursing care and rehabilitation. Changes include transforming the Kane Centers in Glen Hazel and Ross Township into comprehensive living centers that offer a spectrum of short- and long-term residential and nonresidential services.

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