Steuben County Passes 2022 Budget

November 22, 2021

BATH, NY – From The Steuben County Legislature:

Property owners in Steuben County will see a drop in their county taxes, on average, of $0.15 per $1,000
full assessed value in 2022.

The drop is the result of the county Legislature adopting the 2022 budget of $221 million which includes a tax
levy of $51.5 million. The budget was adopted following the 11:30 am public hearing Monday.
Actual tax rates depend on each municipality’s valuation which is determined by a complicated state formula.
“This is a very good budget,” said county Legislature Chairman Scott Van Etten, R-Caton. “Our increase in
spending (in 2022) is up only 1 percent, the tax rate is down and we corrected things we knew would need
correcting.”

The current budget was marked with some uncertainty driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 40
voluntary retirements easing the strain on expenses. The adopted budget includes filling approximately a
dozen vacant positions left open in 2021, notably in Public Works.
Van Etten credited the tight budget on the groundwork laid by county Manager and Budget Officer Jack Wheeler,
county Deputy Manager Christopher Brewer, county Finance Commissioner Tammy Hurd-Harvey, county
Deputy Finance Commissioner Mitch Alger and the department heads.

“A lot of work is done before the committees see the budget,” Van Etten said.
While spending has been kept under 1 percent and the average tax rate down compared to previous years’ rates,
the total budget of $221 million includes a $27.3 million increase compared to $194 million in the current
spending plan. The increase is offset by reserve funds earmarked for the $13 million landfill expansion and a 9
percent increase in other revenues.

Key elements in the adopted 2022 spending plan include:
· An increased in anticipated sales tax revenues due to strong collections through the end of October – nearly
20 percent higher than the same period during pandemic-stricken 2020. Sales tax revenues are expected to
continue to climb, when compared to sales tax revenues in previous years.
· Increase in Public Works costs of $1.7 million, or 7 percent, bringing next year’s costs back to pre-pandemic
levels and filling eight vacancies.
· A 2 percent increase in Public Safety expenses.
· Flat spending in Department of Social Services programs, with the state’s assurance there will be no drastic
cuts in state aid.
· A 45 percent boost amounting to $282,500 for tourism-related agencies, notably the Steuben County
Conference and Visitors Bureau due to a rebound in room tax revenues