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December 14, 2012

Clinton County approves budget for 2013

PLATTSBURGH — Clinton County legislators approved the 2013 budget and a new tobacco policy Wednesday night.

The $155 million spending plan features a tax-levy increase of 1.3 percent and a composite tax rate of $6.07 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

“In light of the tax cap and the economy, we are being responsible for the future as well as the current times, and we wanted to get as close to zero as we could,” Legislature Chairman Jimmy Langley (R-Area 7, Peru) said.

“We know what is expected of us, and we can see what the economy is doing, and while we may be doing well here, there are a lot of issues to look at.”

The tax-levy increase is 1.8 percent below what the state tax cap would have allowed. The tax rate is just two cents higher than the 2012 rate.

The county’s finances were bolstered this year by a boon in sales-tax revenue, which was more than $3 million above projections. The county also benefited from the sale of its home-health-care service to a private firm, which saved about $1.7 million.

A public hearing on the spending plan last week drew no complaints.

Langley said the challenge is to balance the need to provide necessary services with those of financially struggling taxpayers.

“We realize there are a lot of issues out there, but we want to be a place where people can get services, and we can still be responsible to the taxpayer’s wallets,” Langley said.

“We are doing good right now, but that’s not the be all that ends all. We know there are still a lot of people struggling out there.”

The budget was approved by unanimous vote.

TOBACCO POLICY

Legislators also approved a new law regarding tobacco use on county property.

The law says that no smoking or use of any tobacco product is allowed on county property, except at the landfill and Clinton Community College. Those two properties are owned by the county but run by their own entities and have established tobacco policies.

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