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Schuyler budget proposes .68 percent increase

SCHUYLER COUNTY—While the Schuyler County 2011 budget is still preliminary, the legislature is looking at a .68 percent tax levy increase.
County Administrator Tim O’Hearn explained the original goal was no more than a three percent tax levy increase. However, the budget still has one more meeting to go through, which means possible changes. After that, there is a public hearing, Monday, Nov. 8, at 6:30 p.m.
O’Hearn called it a “difficult budget.” He explained there are fixed costs to deal with and decreased revenues. He said spending is down 4.14 percent, to $43,301,794. Overall, O’Hearn said revenue is also down 5.58 percent, to $9,730,875. He added the tax levy is $9,743,375, or a .68 percent increase.
“At this point, it’s basically a zero growth budget,” said O’Hearn.
The 2011 budget does include cuts. O’Hearn said the county started out planning the budget with $500,000 less than last year. He explained that is the amount of stimulus funds Schuyler will not get for the 2011 year.
O’Hearn said county wages have a proposed cut of $240,000. He explained this is from five positions the county will not fill after workers accepted an early retirement package. He said the positions are in the department of social services, real property, and health services.
Another cut could come from dropping the TCAT bus service with Tompkins County. O’Hearn said that would save $50,000. He added if the cut is approved, the commuter service to Tompkins County would end Jan. 1, 2011.
Another possibility is reinstating the county’s four percent sales tax. O’Hearn said the county is considering it. If so, the sales tax in Schulyer would total eight percent.
O’Hearn said the county wants to partner with Chemung County to decrease health insurance costs. He said health insurance and pension costs are a challenge.
The public is invited to the Nov. 8 hearing. The regular county legislature meeting is scheduled afterwards. The 2011 budget may be approved then.


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