Yates considers budget with a looming state cap
PENN YAN—On Tuesday, Oct. 11, Yates County legislators voted unanimously to support two bills that would result in a multi-year state takeover of the local share of Medicaid. Currently, the Medicaid program represents 33 percent of the entire Yates County property tax levy. The time proposed is eight years.
The resolution noted at the time state lawmakers enacted a property tax cap, they pledged to provide mandate relief that would enable local leaders to implement the tax cap without harsh reductions in local services. Mandate relief has not materialized.
The resolution states removing county taxpayers from the financing of Medicaid is the single most important thing the State Legislature can do to lower county property taxes for New Yorkers. The resolution lists a number of ways the state can fund the takeover, including Medicaid program reforms. Legislature Chairman Taylor Fitch noted California has a larger population than New York State and their Medicaid program is half the cost of New York's.
In other business: In a related matter, Yates County legislators scheduled a public hearing on a proposed local law to override the tax levy limit established by the state. The state limit is two percent. The hearing will be at 1 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14 in legislative chambers at the county office building. Legislator Tim Dennis said this is setting in motion the time calendar. Legislator Mark Morris commented, "By supporting this we are not sending the message we are planning to raise taxes."
• Following a public hearing, legislators voted to extend the occupancy tax until November 30, 2013.
• Following a public hearing, voted to adopt a local law that allows insertion of information into tax bills for county purposes. Fitch said the items to be included are key financial impacts of state mandates and graphics on the county budget.
• Legislators accepted the New York State Department of Transportation Aviation Capital Project agreement. Funds will be used for rehabilitation of the existing helicopter parking area and related improvements. The total cost of the project is $413,940. Of this amount, $393,243 is the Federal share, $10,349 the state share and $10,348, the Yates County share.
• Legislators voted to support the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles decision to reinstate vision testing for non-commercial driver license renewals. County Clerk Julie Betts urged residents to renew locally. The amount retained by the county is 12.7 percent.
• Republican Election Commissioner Amy Daines was reappointed for a term ending December 31,2013.
• Heard an update on the prescription drug card from Terrence O'Neill, Communications Specialist, ProAct, Inc. O'Neill said the county is doing extremely well in the program. O'Neill said he believes more residents can utilize the card. There is no cost for the card. It is available at local pharmacies or at the Yates County Public Health office.
• Penn Yan Academy student Abbey Duncan received the Yates County Distinguished Youth Award for the third quarter of 2011. Duncan is involved extensively in school and community activities.
• Legislators passed a resolution recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.
The next meeting of the Yates County Legislature will be on Monday, Nov. 14 at 1 p.m. The meeting will be in legislative chambers in the county office building on Liberty Street in Penn Yan.