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Web site shows where the money goes

TRI-COUNTY AREA—A new database on SeeThroughNY, at, lets people see how their local municipalities spend money.
The “Benchmarks” database was created by the Empire Center for New York State Policy and became active in April.  It shows people how much towns, villages, and counties spend and tax per person.  The latest information available is from 2007 from the Office of the State Comptroller.  The Public Policy Institute and the Empire Center did further calculations on the information.
The database is found by clicking on “Benchmarks” on SeeThroughNY’s Web site.  It allows people to compare different municipalities side by side, or download the whole database.
According to the report, Schuyler’s debt per capita was $9 and in Steuben $302.  In Yates, it was $720 per person.
Yates County Administrator Sarah Purdy said the debt was so high in comparison because the county is still paying off a debt period.  She explained Yates is halfway through a 20 years debt period for the Yates County Courthouse project.
“We basically have no debt,” said Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn about the big difference .  He explained the county has not been acquiring new debt since the securitization of the tobacco settlement in 2001.  “We don’t borrow money.”
O’Hearn said that since 2007, the debt per person has probably even gone down.

In Schuyler, the money spent on debt services per person was $3.  The taxes per person were $932, higher than in Yates ($900) or Steuben ($822).
The total expenditures per person in Yates County were $1,549 per person.  In comparison, Schuyler County spent $1,931 and Steuben County spent $1,741.  Schuyler ranked 22 in the state for the expenditures, Steuben 33 and Yates 48 (all out of 57).  The higher the rank indicates more money per capita (per person), for all areas being compared.
The report also includes how much money is spent on public safety, transportation, social services and even culture and recreation.  Schuyler ranked 10 in the state and seven in the area for spending $27 per person on culture and recreation.  Yates spent the least out of the three with $6 per person and Steuben $7.
In social services, Yates spent $380 per person, Schuyler $513 and Steuben $525.  In 2007, Schuyler spent $69 per person on education.  In comparison, Yates spent $88 and Steuben $87.
On the village level in the area, Watkins Glen has the highest debt at $3,199.18 per person.  Dresden has $1,604 per person, Dundee has $352.39, and Hammondsport has $268.70.  Information on Penn Yan is not available as of yet.  With Watkins Glen having had the highest debt per person, of these villages it also spent the most on debt services per person ($233.47).  Hammondsport also spent the least at $46.86 per person.  Dundee spent $51.63 and Dresden spent $96.06.
For 2007, Dundee residents had the least taxes at $292.82 per person.  Hammondsport residents paid an average of $564.53 per person, Dresden residents $407.82, and Watkins Glen residents $695.07.
On the town level in the area, Milo had the most debt per person of the information available.  In 2007, the debt per person was $1,077.57.  Wayne had $38.73 and Barrington had $85.47.  This information was not reported to the Comptroller’s Office for Tyrone or Starkey.  In the area of debt services, Wayne spent $56.68 per person, Milo $55.06 and Barrington $44.75.
In 2007, Barrington residents had more taxes per person on average at $745.32.  Wayne residents had $516.98 per person, Tyrone residents had $402.50, Starkey residents $253.56, and Milo residents $205.77.
Barrington had the most expenditures at $841.73 per person.  Wayne spent $708.82 per person and Tyrone $572.49 per person.  Taking a jump in totals, Milo spent $296.84 per person and Starkey $276.28.

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