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Yates adopts budget increase for 2011

PENN YAN—A 2.4 percent increase in the tax levy was the result of line by line work on the 2011 Yates County budget. Yates County Legislators unanimously adopted the tentative 2011 budget  of $40,412,090 on Oct. 26. The tax levy increase is $297,231. A public hearing on the budget will be at  6:30 p.m. on Nov. 15 in legislative chambers at the county complex on Liberty Street in Penn Yan. If no further changes are made, the budget may be adopted then.  At the start of the budget workshop Oct. 25, the Yates County budget was $40,483,119  and carried a three percent increase in the tax levy. That increase was $368,260 above this year’s levy.
Required pension costs have more than doubled since 2009. In that year the county paid $888,100 in pension costs. In contrast the 2011 budgeted cost is $1,857,000. In three of the past five years the tax levy increase was zero percent.  Purdy said it is not possible to absorb the doubling of pension cost and keep the increase at zero without severely negatively impacting county services.
Already looking toward 2012, Purdy noted revenue from the Stimulus FMAP (Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage) will not reoccur in 2012 and will show a $290,000 deficit as work begins on that year’s budget.
County finance Committee Chairman Tim Dennis said, “It’s hard if you are a senior citizen. There will be no increase in Social Security again next year but the cost of Medicare will go up. Dairy farmers have had two of their most devastating years. They  have lost a lot of equity. If your income has gone down, a three percent increase is a big deal.”
Sandy King is Yates County Republican Committee chairperson and point person for Finger Lakes Tea Party. Contacted on Oct. 22, she said she had not seen the proposed Yates County budget as yet. King did offer some comments about the economy. She said, “Revenue is not the problem, spending is. Until we control spending in Albany our villages and towns are stuck with mandates. Maybe it’s time for county governments to say no. There comes a time when we the people say enough is enough.”
King acknowledged the importance of maintaining infrastructure. She said, “We have to look seriously where we can cut.”
Dennis said everything will be scrutinized very carefully. He would like to see personnel cuts through attrition rather than layoffs. He said, “There is really a delicate line. Yates County is one of the largest employers in the county. Our unemployment is self-insured. We’ll have to look at each program and position a unit at a  time.”
Next year is a big concern for Dennis. The county already knows they will lose $290,000 in income from FMAP, creating a deficit. Dennis said, “I’m concerned. We  must plan ahead. We can’t get to this time next year without a plan.”




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