Preliminary budget shows tax rate decline
YATES COUNTY--Yates County Budget Officer, Treasurer and County Administrator Nonie Flynn recently detailed the proposed county budget for 2020. The numbers show the budget is within the state tax cap and the tax rate will decrease to $6.04 per thousand of assessed value. The 2020 numbers have expenditures of $45,917,457 a 3.57 percent increase.
Areas of increased expenses include the road fund, 9.36 percent, for the William Street bridge repair and general government, 7.43 percent, for several new legal mandates. The public defender expenses have increased for arraignment coverage and assigned counsel expenditures are anticipated to increase due to the Indigent Legal Services guideline case caps. Additional expenses in labor and supplies in the elections budget are due to early voting, increased hours and adding the Presidential primary.
The largest reduction to expenses comes from the culture and recreation fund, (6.28 percent), due to the reduction of one part-time employee in the historian's office.
Projections show debt service will reduce from $1.38 million in 2020 to $28,666 in 2021 and $27,333 in 2022 before going to zero in 2023. That line item makes up (4.39 percent) in the 2020 proposed budget.
The state of New York directs Yates County to fund several programs, including Medicaid, retirement, community college, social services programs, education of handicapped children, probation, indigent defense, workers' compensation and early intervention. Together these mandated net expenses account for 64.55 percent of the tax levy, totaling $10,742,883. The county's contribution to the state's Medicaid program continues to be the largest single expense and represents 38.6 percent of all of the mandates and 24.9 percent of the tax levy.
An area that is still relatively unknown is how the recently passed criminal justice reforms will fully impact the budget. The largest changes are expected in the Probation, District Attorney, Public Defender and Sheriff areas due to the bail, speedy trial and discovery reforms. New York state did not budget any extra funding for these changes.
As tourism continues to expand in the region, sales tax revenues are projected to increase by $500,000 over 2019 numbers and occupancy taxes are expected to bring a $40,000 increase.