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Wayne Co. Budget: Property taxes to increase 1.9% in 2017; public hearing set for Dec. 6

Total appropriations will be increased by $3.2 million from the 2016 budget in Wayne County.

The Board of Supervisors met in Lyons for their regularly scheduled November meeting, which included a presentation by County Fiscal Assistant and Deputy Budget Officer Ken Blake on the tentative 2017 budget.

Total appropriations amounted to $175,464,145, which was a 1.8 percent increase over last year’s budget. Revenues were being increased by $2.4 million, which was a 1.9 percent increase from the 2016 budget.

In total it means a 1.9 percent increase in the property tax levy. That levy amounts of $728,791, which is $51,200 under the tax cap.

According to Blake, the tax rate is actually being decreased by 0.9 percent from 2016. However, due to assessments rising — the overall taxes due by property owners will increase slightly from last year’s rate.

The General Fund will take up the largest portion of the appropriations — soaking up $138,296,132 of the $175,464,145 budgeted. $10,565,184 will go to highway, roads and bridges — while $21,618,503 will be appropriated from the Wayne County Nursing Home fund.

Blake explained that over the last several years — the tax rate, per $1,000 assessed value has remained relatively flat. From 2012 to 2013 — a 22 cent increase was the largest that had been felt since that period.

The Retirement Reserve will be just about entirely spent this year — as it currently has $1,000,000 remaining. The budget calls for a $941,173 decrease, or a 94.1 percent reduction of that reserve.

New York State Mandates account for 98.05 percent of the overall budget, which saw an increase of $234,148 from the 2016 budget.

These mandates will cost Wayne County $38,079,711 in 2017. The largest of these is Medicaid, which will cost the county $14,128,582. The next two largest will be pension contribution, which costs $5,314,549 and community college tuition, which will cost $4,500,000.

Blake pointed out that while these are called “mandates,” it was his belief that even if given the option — the board would not opt to halt spending on these programs. The community college tuition program, for example, pays a portion of Wayne County students college tuition — if they attend one of the areas community colleges.

Wayne County Administrator Rick House also commended department heads throughout the county for their dedication to ensuring that costs stay down. “Department heads have done a good job of keeping their budgets in check compared to past years,” he said during his comments on the tentative budget.

The board will next meet Tuesday, December 6th at 7 pm for the purpose of a public hearing on the tentative budget. A secondary public hearing will be held for the use of the retirement reserve in the 2017 budget.

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