Press-Republican

December 5, 2012

Clinton County legislators to hear from public on budget

By JOE LoTEMPLIO
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — Clinton County legislators want to hear from the public tonight on the proposed 2013 spending plan.

“I haven’t heard much at all about it (from the public), and I’ve been in enough places where people could have commented to me but haven’t,” said County Finance Committee Chairwoman Sara Rowden (D-Area 4, Town of Plattsburgh).

The budget proposal totals $155.9 million, which is about $1.8 million less than the 2012 package. The plan includes an increase in the tax levy of 1.9 percent, which is less than the 3.2 percent allowed under the state limit.

The county was able to keep the budget stable partly because sales-tax revenue has been up about $3.4 million this year and because it saved about $1.7 million when it sold its license to provide home health care to a private company.

The budget, which was put together by County Administrator and Budget Officer Michael Zurlo, also used about $2 million in fund balance to keep the levy down. The projected fund balance will be about $11.5 million or about 8.7 percent of the total budget.

TAX RATE

The county’s composite tax rate is projected at $6.11 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The 2012 composite rate is $6.05.

The tax levy is the difference between the government’s total expenses and total revenues, the remainder having to be raised by property taxes. Tax bills fluctuate with assessments, so the tax levy is usually the better determinant of individual tax bills.

No service cuts are planned in the 2013 budget, and one half of a full-time position has been eliminated.

Rowden said she believes it is a solid budget plan and guesses that the public does, as well.

“I think, at this point, the vast majority of the community understands the times we are in,” she said.

Tonight’s public hearing begins at 7 in the Legislative Chambers on the second floor of the County Government Building on the corner of Margaret and Cornelia streets.

Legislators will vote on the plan at their meeting Wednesday, Dec. 12, which starts at 7 p.m.

Email Joe LoTemplio:

jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com