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Yates tax levy will remain the same

PENN YAN—The Yates County legislative chamber was filled Nov. 16 for the public hearing on the 2010 Yates County budget, but the lone comments during the session were from representatives of two local veteran’s organizations.
Andy Swarthout and Herb Snyder, commanders of the Penn Van Veterans of Foreign Wars and Johnson-Costello Post American Legion, respectively, asked that $1,000 be reinstated in the budget for a part time employee for the county Veteran’s Service Agency. Both outlined the need for an experienced part time employee to staff the office in the absence of the director and administrative assistant. Swarthout said his organization is having financial difficulties and cannot donate the money, adding, “Vets were told they could always get help.”
An amendment to Taylor Fitch’s motion to approve the budget was made by Douglas Paddock that added the requested amount to the agency budget was approved after the source of the additional funds was determined. Fitch’s motion to pass the $40,305,583 budget with the addition of $1,000 was passed unanimously.
Prior to the public hearing, county administrator and budget officer Sarah Purdy presented a comparison of total expenses, revenue and tax levy of the new budget to the current budget. The new budget carries a 3.8 percent increase and revenue a 4.7 percent increase. The tax levy would remain the same at $12,131,154. During her presentation, Purdy noted major increases including $600,000 for replacement of the Fox Mills bridge, $460,000 for pension fund contributions and $450,000 for the cost of wages. Ninety-five percent of the bridge replacement cost will be paid by Federal and State governments. The pension cost is mandated and the cost of wages is negotiated. Pension costs have doubled and are likely to do so again in 2011. Negotiations are currently underway with county employees. Purdy expressed some concern about the impact of the state deficit on local budgets both in 2010 and 2011, noting New York State has a $3.2 billion deficit in their current budget.
During her presentation, Purdy outlined the projected tax rate for towns in Yates County, noting the rate depends on the town. The tax rates for towns with 100 percent equalization will decrease from 11 to 13 cents per $1,000 of assessed value and the towns of Barrington, Jerusalem and Starkey will see increases due to lack of 100 percent equalization. Barrington and Starkey will increase 12 cents per $1,000 of assessed value and Jerusalem, a 19 cent increase. In any town, the tax levy will go up if the value of the property has gone up in the last year. Town tax rates have gone down because of the 100 percent equalization rate in most towns and the fact that there has been nearly a $12 million increase in property value in the county this year.

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