Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli Unveils Proposed Budget

Posted November 10, 2011

Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli has unveiled his proposed 2012 Budget, which will hold the line on the County property tax rate for the seventh straight year.

“Despite the continuing fiscal pressures of New York State’s unfunded mandates, I am pleased to be able to present to the Chemung County Legislature a budget which continues the previous year’s tax rate of $6.98 per thousand of assessed valuation and further maintains the property tax levy at last year’s level in the amount of $27,005,000,” said Santulli. “These unfunded mandates in 2012 will consume this entire tax levy as well as 23%, or $9,395,338, of our sales tax revenues."

Santulli’s 2012 Budget proposal recommends total net appropriations of $177,216,755 for the fiscal year that commences on January 1, 2012.  This represents an increase of $9,002,154, or 5.4%, from the $168,214,621 approved by the Legislature for the current fiscal year.  Santulli noted that this increase in appropriations is almost entirely due to the annual increase in mandated program costs, especially Medicaid. The budget is now subject to review and approval by the County Legislature.

Santulli went on to say, “Chemung County currently possesses on a real dollar basis our largest fund balance ever, which is in line with NYS Comptroller DiNapoli’s recommendation to local municipalities of 10%-15% in unreserved fund balance for day to day operations. In addition, in 2010 we led the State of New York in sales tax growth, room tax growth, and full value growth.  These are extraordinary achievements for a small upstate county.  We find ourselves in a far better financial situation than the vast majority of the counties in our State.  Due to the still struggling economy and the unfunded mandates imposed by the State of New York, many municipalities are experiencing a fiscal crisis to a magnitude that has never been seen before. The problem is further compounded by a two percent property tax cap imposed by the Governor and the State Legislature which was enacted without the necessary mandate relief.  Chemung County is in a fortunate position with many positive economic indicators which have assisted us in weathering this crisis. However, without serious mandate reform, I worry that our fate could be determined by Albany’s inaction on this issue.  This budget holds the line on spending in all of the programs that we have the ability to control.  Unfortunately, there is unsustainable growth in spending in State mandated programs.”

The County Legislature has scheduled workshop sessions to review the proposed 2012 Budget on November 14th following the regular meeting which begins at 7:00 PM, and on November 15th at 7:00 PM in the 5th floor Legislative Chambers of the Hazlett Building.  A session may also be held on November 16th if needed. The public is welcome at these sessions, as well as at the formal Public Hearing to be held on the 2012 Budget at 7:00 PM on November 21st.

The proposed budget will be available for viewing in the Legislative Chambers and on the County website.

*NOTE:  The “full value tax rate” is the average of the rates of the city of Elmira and the eleven towns within Chemung County.  Final rates are contingent upon action by the Legislature in amending the proposed budget, state equalization rates, special district charges, etc.

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