Allegany County sales tax revenues continue surge as surpluses diverted from property tax relief

Allegany County sales tax revenues continue to pile up, with a weekend report showing income from that source already exceeding last year’s total through the the end of October, with at least six million dollars more likely before the end of the year.

In the meantime, next year’s budget is proposing to divert $16 million for yet unnamed purposes, rather than property tax relief, after county legislators performed a similar action two years ago with $7.5 million being lumped into a general reserve allocation for economic development. Only $540,000, as Allegany Hope Community News reported last week, has been designated for any projects since that time.

The new sales tax data came over the weekend from the State Comptroller’s Office, which reports the county has received $25.55 million in sales tax receipts through the end of last month, just over the $25.5 million which the county budgeted as estimated revenue for this entire year.

The number is in excess of the $22,288,150 number which had been reported to the county Board of Legislators earlier this month by County Treasurer Terri Knapp. The difference wasn’t immediately able to be determined, although a review of county and state numbers indicate past variations between the two sources.

Over $6 million more likely
Last year, according to county reports, Allegany received over $6.4 million during the last two months of the year.

County Budget Officer Carissa Knapp, who also serves as county administrator, has proposed a $145.5 million budget for next year, $13.7 million, or some 10.5 percent more, than the current year’s spending plan.

No budget message accompanied the 160-page preliminary budget packet, nearly 40 pages greater than the 121-page document for 2023, which would enable taxpayers to readily identify some of the major areas of additional expenditures and budget strategies.

Public hearing set for November 30
A public hearing on the budget has been set for 7PM Thursday, November 30, in the Board of Legislators chambers in the County Office Building in Belmont.

The $16 million proposed diversion is nearly 53 percent of the entire county property tax levy for next year, with the previous $7.5 million equaling nearly 25 percent more.

The budget calls for a 91.55-cents per $1,000 of true valuation tax decrease, partially based on using $6.3 million in estimated fund balance/surplus versus $3 million in the current year.

Over one-third to see tax increase
Only 18 of the county’s 29 towns would see an actual tax decrease, however, due to varying town property assessment equalization rates, with property taxpayers in just five towns reaching a decrease as high as the 91.55-cents per $1,000 drop proposed by the county.

Property tax increases of more than six percent would be realized in the Towns of Angelica, Bolivar and Willing.

Based on an initial review of proposed 2024 property tax rates in other areas, Allegany County will continue its ranking as the second highest property taxed county in New York State and the third highest general purposes sales tax recipient if county legislators adopted the proposed budget.