The act increases federal reimbursement rates to states for Medicaid for childless adults, and the states are obligated to pass a portion of that on to local counties, he explained.
That part of the act results in a reduction in the weekly share that the state charges the county for Medicaid.
Medicaid costs account for about 60 percent of the county’s tax levy, but it is down from about 70 percent.
The county will again use $2 million from its fund balance to keep the tax levy down. The fund balance will be at about $11.2 million for 2014, which is within the state recommendation of 5 to 15 percent of the budget.
“This does not harm our fiscal position in any way,” Zurlo said.
The overall composite tax rate for the county was slated to go from $6.07 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $6.10 for an increase of .5 percent. But legislators opted to use about $90,000 more from the tax-stabilization fund to keep the rate at $6.07.
The fund was established in 2011 to offset tax increases for future budgets, Zurlo said.
With assessments remaining stable in most towns and villages in the county, taxpayers’ county tax bills are not expected to go up, he said.
The total assessed property value in the county increased by $35,626,229, or 0.8 percent, for 2014.
Legislature Chairman Jimmy Langley (R-Area 7, Peru), who will step down as chairman at the end of this year, said this was a good budget to leave on.
“We’ve made some wise choices over the years, and as a result, this might have been our easiest budget year we’ve ever had,” he said.
“I know other counties are struggling, and I feel bad for them, but it’s easy for us to make decisions when you have money. But that didn’t just happen. It happened because we followed a plan we had and have been diligent, and everybody here remembers who we work for.”