Proposed Steuben County budget increases tax levy, decreased tax rate

Corning Bureau

BATH, N.Y. (WETM) – The proposed Steuben County 2020 budget will include a slight tax levy increase and a decreased tax rate, according to the county.

The tax levy will increase slightly more than one percent to almost $50.5 million, while the average tax rate will drop 18 cents, a two percent decrease.

The levy increase of almost $500,000 is driven by state-mandated, unfunded reforms to the criminal justice system while promised revenues from the state remain in flux, according to county Manager Jack Wheeler.

“This was an experience in figuring out changing numbers on an almost weekly basis,” Wheeler said.

Mandated local costs due to the state’s Criminal Justice Reform Act and the new centralized arraignment system mean costs in county district attorney’s office will be up 23 percent next year, rising by $404,000.

The reforms will boost costs at the jail by almost $1 million, a 13 percent hike. The new state mandates for criminal reform add to the 40-plus mandates the state already shifts onto county property owners, who bear the cost of the growth of state programs.

In 2020, the county will lose $1 million in PaveNY funds — leaving the county Public Works Department $5 million for road construction, maintenance and repair.

A public hearing and adoption of next year’s spending plan is slated for 11:30 a.m. Nov. 25

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