The remaining reductions remove $500,000 in equipment purchases for the County Department of Public Works, freeze contract agencies to current amounts to save $52,270, remove $150,000 from the County Department of Social Services budget and use $350,000 of anticipated revenue from a property-tax sale to be held in the next few months.
The proposed budget moves another $1.3 million in equipment purchases to a bond anticipation note to be paid from the Nursing Home sale proceeds.
“We would only do the (bond) if the sale of the Nursing Home has been completed,” Palmer said.
Although the home’s sale was approved earlier this year by supervisors, a contract hasn’t been signed, and the $4 million from the purchase won’t be forthcoming until that happens.
The cuts total $3.9 million, dropping the projected tax levy to $16.7 million, from $16.27 million this year, and creating a tentative tax rate of $2.51 per $1,000 of assessment. The current tax rate is $2.42.
The levy with the 26 percent tax hike was $20.6 million. The entire budget totals $108 million in appropriations.
County leaders previously thought they’d have to exceed the state tax cap for Essex County and were prepared to pass a local law to override the cap. With the cuts, the budget comes in just under the cap amount of about 2.6 percent.
The budget has $1.7 million in new state mandates, plus $2.3 million for continued operation of Horace Nye Nursing Home.
The county could raise an extra $1.6 million annually from the one-quarter percent increase in its 3.75 percent sale tax, but the request has been stuck in the State Legislature.
“Press very hard for the one-quarter percent sales tax (increase),” Palmer told supervisors. “It means a huge amount over any other revenue source I could find.”
Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay) said Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislature have agreed to no tax increases whatsoever, so that’s why nothing has happened on the request.