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Preliminary budget shows tax rate decrease ADVERTISEMENT

Preliminary budget shows tax rate decrease

SCHUYLER COUNTY--The Schuyler County Legislature has approved a tentative budget for 2020 which shows a decrease in the tax rate of 3.07 percent. In this budget, the rate will be $7.18 per thousand of assessed value compared to $7.41 in 2019.
According to Schuyler County Administrator and Budget Officer Tim O'Hearn, this is the eighth consecutive year the tax rate has been reduced, representing a 14 percent decrease in rate over that period. The budget stays within the tax cap with a levy increase of $207,278 or 1.86 percent. The state would have allowed an increase of 5.43 percent and remain within the cap.
"In consideration of the newly enacted criminal justice reforms that have amounted to significant additional unfunded mandates for counties, this budget is a testament to the hard work and diligence of the legislature, management and staff of Schuyler County," said O'Hearn. "The cost-saving initiatives and revenue enhancements that have been implemented by the legislature over the past several years continue to pay dividends, and have provided stability in a very fluid environment. All of this has helped offset spending increases and resulted in what I feel is a very responsible spending plan."
For 2020, the total expense is $50,180,668 and the revenue is $38,856,477. The tax levy is $11,324,191.
O'Hearn detailed several factors in addition to the criminal justice reforms which had a significant impact when preparing the budget. Sale tax revenues are again projected to increase next year (4.84 percent) with the growth of the local economy and also internet sales tax collection which began in June 2019. Mental health clinic revenues are projected to increase by 4.61 percent in 2020, pension contributions increase by 5 percent and there is no use of reserve funds to balance the budget.
O'Hearn did say that the actions taken during the 2019 state legislative session will dramatically impact county finances. The bail reform and discovery rules impact on the sheriff's office and district attorney are significant. For example, increases requested in the DA's budget represent almost 50 percent of the proposed increase in the levy. When coupled with revenue reductions in the same budget, the DA local share equals almost 100 percent of the increase.
The tentative budget is now available for public viewing on the county website and will be the subject of a public hearing Tuesday, Nov. 12 at the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls.

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