Chemung County Legislature proposes higher property tax increase

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CHEMUNG COUNTY, N.Y. (WETM) – Chemung County Legislature Chairman David Manchester has released the legislature’s findings regarding the proposed county budget and their proposed amendments, exclusively to 18 News.

According to the legislature’s proposal, the property rate tax would be increased by two percent, generating an additional $312,000 in revenue, instead of the one percent proposed by County Executive Chris Moss.

Moss says the tax increase will utilize half a million dollars to balance the budget. “It’s unfortunate to have a tax increase but felt it was necessary to balance the budget.”

“The reality of it is after 14 years we do have to increase taxes,” said Manchester. “Nobody likes to increase taxes but the reality of it is we can’t keep providing the services even mandated or unmandated, without the revenue.”

Manchester tells 18 News that the goal was to use a little money as possible from the county reserves, and that the biggest unknown in the budget process are the unfunded mandates from the state and increases in the health insurance costs. 

According to Manchester, Moss’s budget proposal projected $63.5 million for sales tax revenue and the increase of an internet tax. The projected figure is $64.4 million, an increase of $638,000

The Legislature Budget Committee made the following recommendations in their proposal:

  • Overtime be reduced for county employees
  • Only $84,000 be used from the reserve fund.
  • A 2% salary increase for non-bargaining unit employees
  • $250,000 be set aside to a contingency account for the changes required from the Criminal Justice reform act.
  • $200,000 be set aside for the Veterans Affairs office b/c of the loss of state reimbursement. 

You can read the entire proposal below.

Here are some highlights of the budget put out by Moss:

  • County employee insurance health costs will increase 14%, equating to a 2.1 million dollar increase over last year’s cost. 
  • The proposed 2020 General Fund Tax Levy of $30,916,478 is an increase of 3.2% over the 2019 tax levy of $29,971,316. The proposed full value tax rate of $6.93 is an increase of 7 cents or 1%.
  • We project to incur a $352,061 deficit in 2019, therefore, our 12/31/2019 fund balance will decrease to approximately $24 million, or 14% of expenditures.
  • The mandated State Pension expense will increase from $7,095,344 to $7,417,228 in 2020.

Below is a full copy of the 433 page budget proposal issued by County Executive Moss.

The Chemung County Legislature Budget Committee is meeting Monday night at 7:00 p.m., and will release the results of proposed revisions to the proposed budget presented by Moss.

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