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November 2, 2013

Clinton County budget to stay within tax cap

More info will be unveiled next week

PLATTSBURGH — Although details of Clinton County’s projected 2014 budget have yet to emerge, the plan is expected to remain below the state tax cap.

“While it wouldn’t be fair to publicly announce this year’s budget prior to the legislators getting the cursory opportunity to review, I have to be fair to taxpayers, as well,” Legislature Chairman Jimmy Langley (R-Area 7, Peru) said.

“In fairness to our taxpayers who are charged next week with selecting five legislative seats that are up for election, I can tell you the legislature will not need to vote to exceed this year’s 1.66 percent tax cap.”

SALES TAX BOUNTY

The cap is set by the state based on the rate of inflation. If a county wants to exceed the cap, it must do so by a majority vote of the County Legislature.

The county has maintained a budget under or at the cap since it was installed in 2011.

County Finance Committee Chairwoman Sara Rowden (D-Area 4, Town of Plattsburgh) said the county’s finances are in good health, largely due to the boon in sales-tax revenue.

As of the end of September, the county was about $3.2 million ahead of projections.

“We’ve been very fortunate with the sales tax, and there is no indication that it is going to change,” Rowden said.

“That is going to help us stay within the cap.”

TOURISM DRAW

Rowden said consumer confidence seems to be rising as the nation emerges from the deep recession of 2008, and the influx of visitors from Quebec also continues to be a positive impact.

“Our tourism efforts are paying off,” she said.

In addition to taking in more money, Rowden said, the county has done a good job of keeping spending under control.

“We are very fortunate enough to have some department heads who understand the fiscal reality of today, and their budget requests are within reason, and they make do with what they get,” she said.

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