Press-Republican

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November 23, 2012

County budget unlikely to change before vote

PLATTSBURGH — Clinton County legislators have three weeks to make changes to the proposed 2013 budget, but nothing major is planned, despite some sharp dialogue at a recent meeting.

“I think for the most part, we are pretty satisfied and impressed with the work the county administrator and the department heads were able to accomplish in light of the tax cap and other issues surrounding it,” said County Finance Committee Chairwoman Sara Rowden (D-Area 4, Town of Plattsburgh).

County Administrator Michael Zurlo presented a budget that featured an increase in the tax levy of 1.9 percent, which is below the allowed state tax-cap limit of 3.2 percent.

The spending plan also features an increase in the composite tax rate of 6 cents, to $6.11 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

The $155.9 million plan is about $1.8 million less than the 2012 budget.

The county benefited this year from hefty increases in sales-tax revenue, which is up more than $3 million, and the sale of home-health-care services to a private firm, which saved about $1.7 million.

The legislature will hold a public hearing on the budget on Wednesday, Dec. 5, and then vote on it at its meeting Wednesday, Dec. 12.

DAME MAKES WAVES

Rowden said she does not anticipate any major changes in the plan before the vote.

“I think our department heads have done a good job of making far-reaching decisions in the way they’ve run their departments over the years, and that really helps,” she said.

“They don’t come up with knee-jerk reactions. They think about the future and how things will be impacted.”

While the budget may be palatable to most legislators, not all is copacetic.

Legislator Mark Dame (R-Area 8, City and Town of Plattsburgh) spent about 20 minutes at the recent Finance Committee meeting going over many details of the budget, asking questions about the sheriff and health departments.

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