The DA’s comments came after Leitz made a 40-minute presentation on the proposed budget, which stands at $99,740,402, or 11.4 percent lower than this year.
The tax levy is $15,410,538, which is an increase of 5.57 percent.
The average tax rate would increase about 23 cents per $1,000 of assessed-property value, from $4.06 to $4.29 per $1,000 in the coming year.
That means taxes on a property valued at $100,000 would go up about $22.35 in 2013.
Dickinson resident James Nesbitt questioned why legislators, when things are so tough on property owners, were considering giving $25,000 to a St. Lawrence County-based fishing-promotion group and $25,000 to develop agriculture-based tourism initiatives, on the heels of a move in August that forgave $22,000 in interest and penalties on housing units once owned by ComLinks.
“Every penny you give to something else you take from us,” Nesbitt said.
Prior to the pubic hearing, Leitz said he identified another $534,700 in potential savings in the budget since filing the tentative plan in October that would bring the tax rate to 1.91 percent and keep the county under the state mandated 2-percent tax cap.
But those figures are not completed, and more information and consultation with Varin was needed, he said.
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