BREAKING: Allegany County, NY, legislators adjourned shortly before noon today, without taking any substantive action to further reduce the county tax rate for next year’s operating budget.
Lawmakers spent some 15 minutes discussing whether they should use surplus funds to create a property tax savings for all towns in the county, 10 of which will see a tax rate increase due to equalization rates, and nearly an hour going back and forth on whether the Town of Wellsville should be granted a $50,000 contribution toward its airport.
The overall tax levy will be reduced by $22,930 due to corrections to worker’s compensation and employment and training salary accounts., which will result in a minor reduction to the $29.7 million tentative budget.
Legislators left the budget alone after many came to the conclusion that towns with low or declining equalization rates, which will see property tax increases shouldn’t be rewarded for their refusal to address assessment issues.
They also decided to appropriate $50,000 to the airport from federal pandemic funds, with Legislator John Ricci of Cuba voting against and Board Chairman Philip Stockin of Houghton and Legislators Dwight (Mike) Healy of Belmont and James Rumfelt of Andover absent for the vote.
Several lawmakers said the board, despite requests, hasn’t been provided with budgets for the airport in order to make a determination as to need while Legislator Gary Barnes, former airport manager who proposed the increase, said information has been provided.
No other discussion occurred in regard to allocating surplus funds, which continue to exceed a full year’s property tax level, to reduce the second highest property and the third highest sales tax rates in the state.
Board members are reconvening this afternoon for several committee meetings and Allegany Hope Community News will update this story after those sessions.
The Livestream of this morning’s Committee of the Whole meeting is available at http://bit.ly/3TMeYIO, with discussion about the airport funding at approximately 20:30 minutes.
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