Advertisement
 
Friday, July 31, 2015
Amsterdam, NY ,

 

Advertisement

Preliminary Fulton County budget calls for 14.6 percent tax increase

Friday, October 05, 2012 - Updated: 7:50 PM

By JAIME STUDD

Recorder News Staff

JOHNSTOWN -- Fulton County officials are beginning to deal with the consequences of a decision made last year to include a one-time $3.5 million revenue from the sale of the county's residential health care facility in the 2012 budget.

Members of the Board of Supervisors Budgetary Review Committee learned Thursday morning that it's nearly the exact amount they are currently short of meeting the state-imposed 2 percent tax cap.

Fulton County Budget Director Alice Kuntzsch presented the committee with a preliminary draft of the 2013 budget, which includes an 11.2 percent drop in revenue and an estimated $4 million, or 14. 6 percent, tax levy increase.

Calling the budget a "living" document, Kuntzsch cautioned that the budget presented on Thursday represented an extremely early draft and that many of the figures it included would likely change.

Kuntzsch told the committee that in order to stay within the cap, the levy could increase by no more than 2.52 percent this year, or approximately $700,000, which means they must somehow find approximately $3.4 million to cut.

Without any changes to the budget, those figures equate to a $1.55 per $1,000 of assessed property value rise in the average tax rate to $13.12.

Total appropriations in the preliminary budget, however, currently stand at approximately $88.8 million, down $4.3 million from last year and the lowest since 2003.

"We knew this was coming," Kuntzsch said of the shortfall resulting from last year's decision. "That's the biggest impact on our budget for this year."

Medicaid remains the single largest expense for the county, Kuntzsch said.

"Just under half of our levy goes to pay one bill, one bill," Kuntzsch told the committee members. "Medicaid."

The impact of state mandates will once again play a starring role in this year's budget proposal, with Bleecker town Supervisor Dave Howard noting that 87 percent of last year's budget was mandated by the state.

Perth town supervisor and Finance Committee Chairman Greg Fagan said he believed that percentage would like rise, possibly to the lower 90s, due to the sale of the RHCF.

"We don't have anything left to sell," said Fulton County Administrative Officer Jon Stead.

As they assessed the preliminary figures, committee members cited several figures they believed required further scrutiny, most notably the fuel estimates, which were figured using a flat rate of $3.50 as the standard.

"That's probably a good guesstimate," Broadalbin town Supervisor Joe DiGiacomo told the board.

Because the price of natural gas is currently much lower than in year's past, however, and the Department of Social Services building is currently in the process of transitioning to that use (the last of the county's buildings to do so,) committee members agreed fuel costs were an expenditure that required further investigation and could likely be lowered.

Fuel estimates for the coming year stand at just over $429,000 in the preliminary budget, up from nearly $427,000 for the current year.

"That's one to take a look at because natural gas is way down, now," Stead said.

Howard also targeted expenditures for the county's Youth Bureau for further scrutiny.

"I know I bring this up every year," Howard said. "I'm not sure the youth program needs to be in operation."

"Do they actually do anything that can't be done somewhere else," he added. "It's kind of a hold over from another time when there was a lot of money coming in and out."

"I kind of agree," DiGiacomo said, adding that he thought it was worth exploring whether those programs could be consolidated into another department.

The news for the county wasn't all dire, however, with Kuntzsch noting a projected increase in both sales tax and Off-Track Betting revenues for the coming year.

Committee members also noted that Fulton is one of only two counties in the state with no debt service.

"We're a lot better off than we were last year," DiGiacomo said.

"A lot can change between now and adoption," Board of Supervisors Chairman Michael F. Gendron cautioned.

     

Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Advertisement
Subscribe to The Recorder

 

The Recorder Sports Schedule

 

The Recorder Newscast

Most Popular

    Sheriff's divers find body of Sacandaga fisherman
    Wednesday, July 29, 2015

    Manufacturing plant to close in Hagaman
    Saturday, July 25, 2015

    Burglaries in Amsterdam are under investigation
    Saturday, July 25, 2015

    Day care moving into Amsterdam
    Monday, July 27, 2015

    Candidate petitions ruled invalid
    Saturday, July 25, 2015

    Police report
    Saturday, July 25, 2015

    'Jungle Jim' hits the ground running
    Saturday, July 25, 2015

    Goat thieves get prison, jail terms
    Saturday, July 25, 2015

    Letter to the editor
    Saturday, July 25, 2015

    Main Street
    Saturday, July 25, 2015

Advertisement

Copyright © McClary Media, Inc.

Privacy Policies: The Recorder

Contact Us

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook