Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel‘s proposed 2024 County budget totals $294.1 million and reduces taxes by 89-cents.
Wendel said this is the fourth budget proposal he’s made that lowers county taxes.
He said the tax levy has a 2.6% increase, or an increase of $1.8 million, which is the maximum increase allowed by New York State.
Wendel said the county’s real estate market has been strong, which has resulted in increased valuation of properties, “Approximately, a 16% increased valuation for an overall total of $10.3 billion. Since the valuation increased more than the levy, the resulting tax rate is decreased. County-wide property valuation increase reflects not only property reassessments but also real property sales. Recently in Chautauqua County, houses have sold above assessed prices, thus raising the assessed value of properties in our county.”
The proposed 2024 property tax rate is $6.91, which is 89-cents lower than 2023. Wendel said taxes have decreased $1.65 since he took office.
He said the 2024 budget includes a higher projection in sales tax revenue than the 2023 budget based on continued increases in sales tax receipts.
Wendel said challenges in the budget include increased Medicaid costs, “Which includes an estimated $3 million of Enhanced Medicaid Assistance Percentage funding unfortunately not being distributed directly to the county. Additionally, 2024 will include a 53rd Medicaid payment.”
Wendel said according to the New York State Association of Counties, state and federal mandates make up 80% of the county budget.
He said proposed capital projects upgrades include cyber security, “Including our networking equipment and time and attendance system. There will also be investments at SUNY Jamestown Community College with upgrades and renovations to create better study spaces for students including cost-efficient LED lighting. We plan to continue to invest in our county fire training centers with the purchase of a new self-contained breathing apparatus fill station at the Taylor Training Center in Jamestown.”
Wendel has also proposed $1 million in funding for Chautauqua County lake maintenance that would be open to all six lakes in the county.
An interview with County Executive Wendel on his proposed 2024 County budget can be heard on Community Matters at 5 p.m., September 28 on WRFA.