Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel‘s proposed 2023 County budget reduces taxes by 30-cents.
Wendel said this is the third budget proposal he’s made that lowers county taxes.
He said the tax levy has an 4.1% increase, or an increase of $2.7 million, which is the maximum increase allowed by New York State, “But uniquely linked to that, our property tax value also went up 4.1%. So, it’s not like we increased spending frivolously. We increased it, what I feel, is a very moderate rate, taking into consideration the increase in the value of our homes. Along with that, we also saw inflation go up 8.2%. So, although you’re seeing increases in the levy, most, and I’d say the majority, of that, 90% or more, is based on unfunded mandates.”
Wendel said revenues increased by 6.9%. He said that was driven by a $5 million increase in sales tax. State aid also is up 16%, or $6.7 million.
When it comes to expenditures, Wendel said there has been a large increase in the number of full-time employees in County Government, going from 1,319 employees in 2022 to a proposed 1,353 in 2023, “But those, again, a large majority, if not all are funded by revenue or grant fundings. So, one of the goals I had, if you want to increase FTEs (full-time equivalency employees), make sure you have them funded, not ‘Let’s just try to make it happen later,’ but we have the funding as the positions are being created.”
Equipment costs are up 74% or $410,441. The proposed 2023 budget would use $4.5 million of the general fund to go toward $3.6 million in capital projects, $600,000 for a one time bonus for CSEA union members, and $292,000 for repayment of helicopter debt.
Wendel said the capital projects include investments in heavy equipment, the Dunkirk and Jamestown airports; information systems, emergency response systems, and at Jamestown Community College.
He said his goals for the 2023 budget were to present a structurally sound budget, maintain a general fund balance of five to 15% of revenues and present a budget with a tax levy at, or below, the tax levy limit.
An interview with County Executive Wendel on his proposed 2023 County budget can be heard on Community Matters at 5 p.m., September 29 on WRFA.
Betty DeLand says
How much is the Medicaid portion going up?