Public hearing set for Steuben County budget

Corning Bureau

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BATH, N.Y. (WETM) – A public hearing on the proposed Steuben County 2020 budget is set for 11:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 25 immediately followed by the adoption of the county’s spending plan by county legislators during a special session.

If adopted by the county Legislature, next year’s budget of $197 million carries a 1 percent hike of $500,000 in local costs, bringing the property tax levy up to $50.5 million.

While spending will increase the average tax rate will drop 2 percent, down from the current average of $8.25 per $1,000 to an average of $8.07 per $1,000. Each municipality’s tax rates vary because of the state’s complicated equalization formula.

Key elements in the 2020 budget include:

  • Mandated local costs due to the state’s Criminal Justice Reform Act and the new centralized arraignment system, with costs in county district attorney’s office up 23 percent next year, an increase of $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.
  • The loss of $1 million in PaveNY funds — leaving the county Public Works Department $5 million for road construction, maintenance and repair.
  • Local costs will be reduced in large part through a $2 million increase in projected sales tax revenues, some county reserves and interest earnings.

The approval of 2020 tax equalization rates is on the 10 a.m. regular session agenda of the county board, which also includes the semi-annual distribution of mortgage tax receipts and authorization of setbacks for the Canisteo Wind Energy Project.

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