2018 Elmira Budget calls for a tax increase to pay off debt

ELMIRA, N.Y. (18 News) - The 2018 budget for the City of Elmira was announced Friday, and calls for a 17% tax increase as the city fights to pay back millions of dollars in debt. 

The proposed budget asks for $32 million. 

"As everyone knows the City of Elmira continues to face financial issues," said Michael Collins, City Manager. 

Collins says the cost of business increases as revenues stay flat. 

The city's money crisis comes from a $4.5 million deficit from previous budgets.

"I think it's because we generated high revenues unfortunately," Collins said. 

The 2018 budget has a surplus of $45,000. That money will go towards the $4.5 million the city owes. However, the city will need much more than that to climb out of its debt. 

"That's a financial crisis, that's a concern, you certainly don't want a city that has financial issues," Collins said. 

Under the budget there will be no layoffs for the police and fire departments. Thus, there will be a property tax increase of 17%. 

"We need police, we need fire, I'm not reducing staffing levels," Collins said. "I'm not requesting layoffs to accommodate the budget, that's why I proposed that tax increase." 

Collins acknowledges that some may not be happy about this. 

"I certainty understand residents and businesses may not be in favor of these increases, but I feel its important to not have layoffs," Collins said. 

Collins said the city will continue to work towards increasing revenues and reducing costs to get Elmira out of it's debt. 

 


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