November 29, 2016
BATH, NY – The Steuben County Legislature adopted the county 2017 budget last night. It’s a $177.8 million budget, which carries a tax levy of $50,008,771, down from the current budget’s levy of $50,010,577.
Officials say that the average tax rate of $8.46 per $1,000 full assessed value for 2017 decreased by $0.13 per $1,000, compared to the current average tax rate of $8.59 per $1,000 full value.
The county Legislature’s Finance Committee Chair Scott Van Etten, R-Caton, said the 2017 budget provides services to county residents, while leaving room to absorb unexpected cost increases in the future.
County Manager Jack Wheeler credited flat Medicaid expenses, efficient staffing levels and increased state funding for highway improvements with the drop in the tax levy.
County legislative spokesperson Mary Perham says that Medicaid does remain the single largest expense for county taxpayers next year, accounting for $19.3 million and equal to 39 percent of the total levy. Jack Wheeler warned legislators court-ordered efficiencies in public defense could result in an additional $500,000 for Steuben taxpayers if the state fails to pick up the cost. To date, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not signed a bipartisan measure supporting the state takeover and passed by both the state Senate and Assembly, said Wheeler.