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December 7, 2013

County public hearing on proposed budget mild

PLATTSBURGH — Clinton County legislators are poised to approve the 2014 budget next week after an uneventful public hearing.

“Other counties are struggling, and I think our budget is a tribute to (county administrator and budget officer) Mike Zurlo and his staff,” Legislator Robert Butler (R-Area 6, Saranac) said at the hearing Wednesday night.

“He is a special individual, and we appreciate his efforts in leading this county down the right path.”

SLIGHT INCREASE

Zurlo orchestrated the $157 million spending plan for 2014, which features an increase in the tax levy of .08 percent and a composite tax rate of $6.07 per $1,000 of assessed property value, the same as 2013.

The .08 percent increase in the tax levy is well within the state cap, which for Clinton County would have been 4.1 percent after allowable factors were added to the base cap rate of 1.66 percent.

GRATITUDE EXPRESSED

The only comments made at the public hearing came from William Laundry, who was speaking as vice president of the Clinton County Historical Association.

Laundry thanked the county legislators for their financial support, which is $25,000 for 2014, the same as this year.

“We truly appreciate what the county does for us because quite literally we would not be able to do what we do,” he said.

Legislator Sara Rowden (D-Area 4, Town of Plattsburgh), who chairs the county’s Finance Committee, said the county has done well in sales-tax revenue and occupancy-tax revenue in part because of efforts from groups such as the Historical Association.

“Historical tourism is a big thing in this area, and you are a big part of that,” Rowden told Laundry.

REVENUE STREAM

The county is benefiting from an outstanding year in sales-tax revenue, as figures are about $3.2 million ahead of projections, with the holiday season, typically the biggest in terms of sales tax, still ongoing.

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