County budget would raise taxes 2.6%

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 November 2019 at 9:18 pm

Tax rate would actually drop 23 cents due to rising assessments

ALBION — The tentative budget for Orleans County would increase taxes by 2.63 percent, however, the tax rate would drop by 23 cents, from $10.10 to $9.87 per $1,000 of assessed property.

Taxes are increasing but the rate is falling due to rising assessed values in the county, up 4.93 percent or by $85.7 million – from $1.74 billion in 2019 to $1.82 billion in 2020.

The overall budget includes $71,711,638 in spending, which is up 1.0 percent from the $71,031,480 in 2019.

There will be a public hearing on the budget at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 2 at the Orleans County Legislative Chambers, 14016 Route 31 West, Suite 200, Albion. This is in the new addition of the County Administration Building.

Chuck Nesbitt, the county’s chief administrative officer and budget officer, released the tentative budget today. This is his final one as the county’s CAO. He leaving the position next month after 14 ½ years to take a job in the private sector.

Nesbitt said the budget meets a goal of county officials in keeping staying within the property tax cap, while maintaining services provided by 430 full- and part-time employees. The budget keeps school resource officers at Kendall and Lyndonville school districts. (Those districts reimburse the county for providing officers at the schools, which started in 2018.)

The county budget also invests in infrastructure and tourism growth, Nesbitt said in a budget message.

The county is adding two full-time positions in the District Attorney’s Office – a DA and a clerical position – to meet new duties as part of the state’s criminal justice reform mandates.

The county also is budgeting a $150,000 increase in community college chargebacks.

The budget keeps the same level of funding in 2020 as 2019 for several agencies that provide services in the community: Cornell Cooperative Extension, $240,000; Orleans Economic Development Agency, $190,000; Soil & Water Conservation District, $92,500; four public libraries, $10,000 combined; Sportsmen’s Federation, $4,000; and Geneses-Orleans Regional Arts Council, $3,000.

The fee for solid waste and recycling service will be $212, which is the same as 2019. That cost is holding steady as the county transitioned to larger recycling totes this year, which are picked up every two weeks instead of weekly.

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