Tentative Allegany County budget shows tax increases for 10 of 29 towns while county enjoys $30 million surplus

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BREAKING – EXCLUSIVE: Allegany County, NY, government has proposed a $29.75 million budget for next year which will result in a property tax increase of as much as $1.31 per $1,000 of true valuation, or 9.5 percent over last year in 10 of the county’s 29 towns, while it sits on some $30 million in unreserved surplus, of which it proposes to use only 10 percent to help lower taxes.

The analysis comes from an initial Allegany Hope Community News review of a 122-page tentative budget submitted to county lawmakers yesterday, who promptly set a public hearing for 7PM Thursday, November 10, in the Board chambers in the County Office Building, 7 Court Street, Belmont.

It also will meet as a Committee of the Whole at 10AM Wednesday, November 16, the following week, to review the document.

Under the initial proposal, some $102 million would be appropriated in all funds next year, compared with over $97.19 million during the current year. The amount to be raised by tax, however, would only increase $301,139 after application of the $3 million in fund balance.

Application of some $86.8 million in additional taxable value then would result in an average real property tax decrease of 44 cents per $1,000 of true valuation.

Impact varies by town
The impact, however, would vary considerable in county towns, from a $1.31 per $1,000 increase to a $4.42 decrease, due to town equalization rates as shown on our exclusive chart, generated from two years of budget records, which accompanies this report.

As shown, real property tax rates would increase in the Towns of Alfred, Andover, Belfast, Bolivar, Centerville, Cuba, Friendship, Hume, Rushford and Willing.

The other 19 towns would show decreases of 27.82 percent in Granger, 25.91 percent in Amity, 20.38 percent in Independence and 15.62 percent in Burns as a result of the four local governments moving to 100 percent assessment ratios.

The Town of Grove remained at 100 percent and Caneadea and Scio dropped down from their full assessment valuations, resulting in lesser tax decrease percentages and amounts.

Board Chairman Philip Stockin of Houghton commented to legislators that “the budget looks very good” and “we’re looking for a budget that will be really acceptable to everybody.”

County board resists major tax reductions
The board has resisted applying more of its surplus to lower the second highest property tax rate and third highest sales tax rate in the state, with the amount in that reserve continuing to be comparable to a full year’s property tax levy.

Based on previous estimates, the board could reduce property taxes by approximately one-third or lower sales tax to equal or less than most other counties in the state, or a combination of each.

Allegany Hope Community News will be providing additional information on the budget as we complete further analysis.

No budget message providing highlights of the spending plan has been provided as of this writing to aid in public digestion of the package.
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