Clinton County legislators unanimously adopted a 2011 spending plan Wednesday night.

The $159.4 million budget features an increase in the tax levy — the amount to be raised by property taxes — of 3.6 percent to $27,303,963 and an increase in the tax rate of 1.4 percent.

The composite tax rate increased from $5.88 to $5.96 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

The tax bills fluctuate with the assessments, so it is the tax levy that is the better determinant of individual tax bills.

Both are down by 1 percentage point from the tentative budget proposed last week.

“It was a positive week for Clinton County taxpayers,” said County Administrator and Budget Officer Michael Zurlo.

The decrease was possible because costs for the county’s property and casualty insurance came in lower than expected, and health-insurance costs for employees were not as high as predicted.

“The rates remain considerably high, but they came in a tad lower than expected,” Zurlo said.

Legislators Robert W. Butler (R-Area 6, Cadyville), Keith M. Defayette (R-Area 5, Plattsburgh) and John W. Gallagher (D-Area 9, Plattsburgh) congratulated Zurlo and other county employees on the decrease.

The budget includes a 2.25-percent raise for all department heads.

While no positions were cut, seven vacant positions will not be filled, and all travel was cut by 10 percent.

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