MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Legislature has approved a $229 million spending plan for next year.
On Wednesday night lawmakers met to review proposed amendments for the budget and give it a final vote. In the end, the legislature voted 18 to 0 on the spending plan that includes a property tax cut of just over half-a-percent, which equals a reduction in the tax rate of 7 cents per thousand assessed value.
The current property tax rate is $8.55 per $1000. Under the finalized spending plan, it will drop to $8.48 per $1000. Even with the drop in the tax rate, the tax levy is actually going up to $60.8 million – a $1 million increase over the current year’s tax levy.
The legislature approved a few minor adjustments to the spending plan that was put forward by county executive Vince Horrigan in September. Those amendments were finalized last week in the audit and control committee. They included an increase in funding for the local 4-H program from $25,000 to $50,000. In addition the legislature cut funding for the Sheriff’s office by $50,000 – which was money that was intended to be used to purchase in-car cameras for all patrol vehicles. However, the in-car camera fund will still receive $100,000.
11th HOUR AMENDMENT FAILS TO RECEIVE SUPPORT
One final amendment was put forward during Wednesday Night’s voting session. Legislator Terry Niebel (R-Sheridan) proposed using an additional $300,000 from an Intergovernmental Transfer payment to be used to further reduce property taxes.
Niebel’s reasoning was that the IGT payment came in $2.3 million higher than what was anticipated and as a result, some of that windfall should be used to further reduce the tax rate.
However, that proposal was defeated 16 to 2 – with the majority of lawmakers agreeing that the money should instead be used to build the county’s fund balance, so it can be used to help manage budgets in future years.
Following the vote, Horrigan said he was pleased with the final version of the spending plan and intends to sign off on it on Thursday.