Public hearing today on county’s proposed $73 million budget

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 November 2020 at 8:58 am

ALBION – There will be a public hearing on Orleans County’s proposed $73 million budget today at 5:30 p.m.

The hearing will be through Zoom video conferencing, rather than an in-person session due to Covid-19 restrictions. Click here for instructions on being a part of the meeting.

The budget would increase spending by 2.16 percent, from $71,711,638 to $73,262,025, and taxes would go up 1.66 percent or by $299,798 — from $18,009,699 to $18,309,497.

The tax rate would increase by 1.11 percent or 11 cents, from $9,87 to $9.98 per $1,000 of assessed property.

The county faces uncertainty in state reimbursements. It also will be paying 20 percent more in retirement contributions. That’s because the stock market was at a low point on March 31, and that’s the date the state comptroller takes the valuation of the retirement fund to set retirement rates for 2021.

The county also faces a 19 percent increase in health insurance premiums for 2021 due to rising pharmaceutical costs in the county’s health plan.

The county also is in a two-year annual sales tax diversion of $190,274 for “Fiscally Distressed Health Facilities,” which was imposed by the state.

The budget meets a goal of county legislators in maintaining core services while staying within the state tax cap.

The budget also maintains funding to outside agencies. They didn’t face a funding cut, and they didn’t get an increase.

Those agencies and organizations in the budget include: $240,000 to Cornell Cooperative Extension, $190,000 to Orleans Economic Development Agency, $92,500 to Soil & Water Conservation District, $10,000 to be shared among four public libraries, $5,000 to Mercy Flight, $4,000 to Sportsmen Federation, and $3,000 to GO Art!

The tentative budget would eliminate 8 full-time jobs and 12 part-time positions from 2020. The county will down 8 full-time positions from 333 to 325.

The fee for solid waste and recycling service will be $216, which is a 2percent increase from 2020.

The budget also calls for 2 percent raises for the seven county legislators. Their pay will go from $18,496 to $18,886 for the chair, $13,985 to $14,265 for the vice chair, and from $12,329 to $12,576 for the other five legislators.