Legislature approves 2022 budget
SCHUYLER COUNTY--Following a public hearing and the last budget presentation from retiring County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, the Schuyler Legislature unanimously passed the $55 million budget during the Monday, Nov. 8 legislative meeting. Prior to the meeting, O'Hearn took time to single out the contributions of county department heads and legislative assistants in constructing the budget.
"I couldn't ask for a more passionate, dedicated group of people... and I want to start off this meeting with this recognition for everything you've done," O'Hearn told those in attendance.
The budget for 2022 calls for a total of $55,205,964 representing an 11.59 percent increase over the $49,471,887 budget for 2021. While the total of the budget is going up, the levy is decreasing 2.5 percent from $11,323,706 in 2021 to $11,040,870 and the tax rate is also decreasing 3.63 percent, from $7.13 per thousand dollars of assessed value to $6.87.
O'Hearn took time to explain how he believes the 2022 budget to be particularly unique as many cuts from the previous budget, which were made in response to the COVID pandemic and included things like salary freezes, were reinstated in the current budget.
"So we have two years of salary increases in this budget," said O'Hearn.
Despite the large increase in spending O'Hearn said the county is in a unique financial position as the feared economic recession never materialized in a significant way locally, but municipalities have also received recovery funding.
O'Hearn said the legislature has always been very conscious of the impact of property taxes on residents and always had conservative budgets, but with over $10 million available O'Hearn said that some of that money is going to be reinvested in the county through a new Economic Recovery Fund.
Looking forward, O'Hearn said another strong economic year is projected for 2022, with a 15 percent increase in sales tax revenue projected.
Despite the recent issues created by the COVID pandemic, O'Hearn added the current budget is one that not only serves as an excellent budget for 2022 but will also serve as a template for future budgets.
"I am thankful the numbers keep improving, it helps me feel good about leaving, so I just want to thank everyone and wish you well," O'Hearn said.