Steuben County Presents New Budget
November 15, 2013
BATH N.Y – Steuben County Administrator and budget officer Mark Alger held a meeting for legislators and the public to present the 2014 Steuben county budget. Alger in his opening remarks, said that this was a “maintenance budget”, not increasing nor decreasing significantly.
Administrator Alger pointed out during his presentation that Steuben county was able to stay under the New York State mandated 2% tax levy cap, so residents of the county will see minimal tax increase, of less than 2%, and in some areas may see less than a nickel per $1000.00 on their assessed value of their homes.
Mark Alger stated that there are a couple of things that have made staying under the levy cap difficult, one being the loss of revenue from production of natural gas, in the county which seems to have shifted to the neighboring state of Pennsylvania. Another hurdle facing the finance committee was the continuing practice of New York state placing a lot of the financial burden for it’s social programs with the county. However, Steuben county did see an immediate impact from Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which saved the county over $900,000.00 in medicaid expenditures, the county used to split the cost of medicaid 50/50 with the federal government, whereas now the split is 90/10 with the county’s burden being 10 percent.
The county administrator said that the sales tax collected by the county are actually down from the 2012 fiscal year, which highlights the fact, while the economic tide seems to turning, in Steuben county we are still feeling the effects of the recession, and have not completely recovered at this time. Mark Alger also told meeting goers that, the county is being hampered by the state placing much of the financial responsibility for it’s many social welfare programs on the county’s back, which means having to reduces funding for other county sponsored programs, in order to meet the budget requirements.
The $186,944,564 budget is good news for taxpayers in as much they will see very little tax increase, however Alger does note that the refusal of Albany to give any sort of mandate relief, an economy that is still struggling to rise out of the ashes of the recession, makes it very difficult for lawmakers on the county level to present a budget that does not include tax increases. Mark Alger praised those on the financial committee for a job well done in completing the 2014 County budget.