MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Legislature voted Tuesday night to approve a tax cap override for the 2021 county budget.
Lawmakers voted unanimously during a special meeting on a local law that allows the county to override the cap on the 2021 tax levy. The move was due in part to the state mandated “2% tax cap”, which calls for any increase in the tax levy over 2 percent to require at least a two-thirds majority vote by local lawmakers.
However, for 2021 the so-called “tax cap” is actually lower than 2 percent due to a lower rate of inflation. As a result, any tax levy increase over 1.56% for next year would require a tax cap override. But even without the lower rate of inflation, a tax cap override would be necessary for the county executive’s budget. That’s because acting County Executive P.J. Wendel is proposing a tax levy for next year of just over $66.4 million – a 3 percent increase from 2020.
Despite the tax levy increase, the proposed tax rate under Wendel’s budget would have actually seen a slight decrease of 5 cents per thousand assessed value. However, last week the legislature’s Audit and Control committee had a lengthy meeting to review the budget and ultimately agreed to a revised spending plan that includes a slight adjustment to the tax rate. That adjustment would result in a new tax rate that is 3 cents higher than the current year’s rate – or $8.49 per thousand assessed value.
The amended budget recommendations from Audit and Control will be reviewed and acted on by the county legislature later this month.