October 2, 2013

Tax up 8.76% in tentative Franklin County budget

MALONE — The 2014 Franklin County tentative budget has an 8.76 percent tax-levy increase, no layoffs and a precautionary recommendation to override the mandated-tax cap.

County Manager and Budget Officer Thomas Leitz filed the spending plan Tuesday and said legislators will hold a series of workshops shortly to try to reduce the anticipated tax impact.

The overall tentative budget is $103,623,666, an increase of 3.09 percent from this year.

The tax levy, or amount to be raised by taxes, is $16,178,524, up 8.76 percent.

Equalization rates for municipalities are not available yet, but the average tax increase for a home valued at $100,000 would be $35.28, Leitz said.

He will recommend the county pass a local law to override the state-mandated tax cap, as a precaution in case legislators can’t get the tax levy under 1.66 percent.


The Sheriff’s Department budget will remain at 2013 levels, but three officers will be added, as required by an agreement with the State Commission on Corrections on staff size.

Leitz said the three staffers added in 2013, coupled with three more in 2014, should help eliminate overtime and per-diem expenses.

The deputies’ union membership recently rejected a mediated settlement that would have given them a 2-percent pay raise retroactive to Aug. 21, a 2-percent raise in 2014 and a 2.5-percent raise in 2015.

Leitz said he planned for those terms when he compiled the budget, anticipating a settlement that also includes the deputies using the same health-insurance plan and generic drugs.


The overall budget includes the anticipated continuation of revenue from slot-machine profits at the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino, which is expected to be $3.5 million; sales-tax revenue to remain stable at 2013 levels; and slightly lower pension costs.

Leitz said the county could save $1 million by following his recommendation to participate in a State Retirement stabilization program, paying a little less than the amount owed but spreading the payback across 12 years at a low-interest rate.

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