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Schenectady County budget cuts taxes

"The 2010 full value tax rate " the tax rate upon which counties must tax legally in New York State " is the lowest tax rate since 1956," said Rooney.

She added that in 1956, the rate was $5.77 per $1,000, making this the lowest tax levy rate since 1956.

The expense side of the budget is going up about $8.6 million.

"There are two types of expenses that are driving that," said Rooney.

"One is mandated costs where we don't have a choice. We're required to pay them," said Rooney.

The first is the mandated cost is $2.9 million in Mandated Retirement System Changes. From there, the county is facing $837,000 in Medicaid Increases, $581,000 in public safety and law enforcement cost increases and a $250,000 increase in the Office of Child and Family Services.

Rooney described 2010 as a "transition year" because of several factors, including $7 million in external pressures such as mandated cost increases and economy driven impacts (sales tax revenue, for example, is down).

Rooney said the state retirement system is increasing how much the county must contribute by about $3 million, from $4.9 million to $7.8 million. Mandated programs take up 77 percent of the total net county sales and property taxes collected.

She said core services, including the county library system, highway system, senior and long-term care services, public safety, public health infrastructure and education will be preserved.

For 2010, the total net county cost is $129.9 million. This includes $91.7 million in mandates, $19.9 million in non-mandates, $10.4 million in facilities and central services, and $8.7 million in mandatory legal obligations. Medicaid is costing the county $32.3 million dollars of their county property and sales tax revenues " up from $31.4 million.

"In 2011 that number will grow to $33 million. It's an automatic built-in increase each and every year," said Rooney.

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