October 23, 2013 —
Sullivan County Acting Manager Joshua Potosek recently issued a statement on the county budget. He wrote, “Sullivan County has faced extreme budgetary challenges through the financial crisis over the past five years. As we approach the conclusion of 2013, the county is slowly beginning to improve financially. This proposed budget is the first since the beginning of the recession that does not include drastic service cuts, layoffs, exorbitant tax increases, or the use of fund balance in the general fund, but instead maintains existing service levels and modestly builds capacity in a few key strategic areas.”
“I am very encouraged by the submission of this budget, said Scott Samuelson, chairman of the legislature. “Last year was a very challenging year. I am proud of this legislature for their restraint and dedication that has allowed for this submission. We will, over the next several weeks continue to search for further cost-saving measures and quite possibly bring the final budget in at or below the state mandated tax cap. It is the goal.”
The tentative budget proposes to increase the tax levy by 3.59%, an approximate monthly increase of $3 for an average homeowner. The budget anticipates $250,000 less in sales tax, an increase of $1,130,000 in health insurance contributions and an increase of $893,000 in pension contributions. Together, these three items represent a potential $2,273,000 increase in the tax levy, well in excess of the 2.12% New York State allowable tax cap for Sullivan County.