MONTICELLO, NY — Despite the deep and ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on Sullivan County, county manager Joshua A. Potosek presented a 2021 Tentative Sullivan County Budget to the legislature on …
MONTICELLO, NY — Despite the deep and ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on Sullivan County, county manager Joshua A. Potosek presented a 2021 Tentative Sullivan County Budget to the legislature on October 29 that continues existing services and avoids layoffs.
“As proposed by my office, the 2021 Tentative Sullivan County Budget prioritizes what’s important to our residents: public transportation, broadband connectivity and cost-effective government,” Potosek said. “At the same time, it does not burden taxpayers with excessive and unaffordable tax hikes. In fact, the average taxpayer should see a net decrease in their bill.”
The $235,937,003 budget, as currently proposed, stays under the state-mandated property tax cap with a 2.24 percent rate increase. However, it also proposes a significant decrease in the solid waste access fee, from $80 down to $50 a year on residential properties and from $200 down to $125 a year on commercial properties. For most parcels, that should more than offset the tax rate increase.
A double-digit tax increase is avoided in this proposal due to the future operational and financial management of the Care Center at Sunset Lake via lease by a third party, yet to be selected by the legislature but anticipated to be in place by the first quarter of 2021.
Full details of the budget are available at www.sullivanny.us (click on “Sullivan County 2021 Tentative Budget Executive Summary” and “Sullivan County 2021 Tentative Budget Detail” under the “Helpful Links” tab in the lefthand margin).
“Compared to prior years, our spending and staffing plans are subdued, as [the impact of coronavirus] continues to be felt, and we don’t know how long that will last,” Potosek said. “For example, we are dropping our full-time-equivalent staff numbers from 1,157 to 1,075 by not filling vacancies and not restoring a handful of currently furloughed positions. There is no funding currently designated for our plans and progress or discretionary contract programs. With possible 20 percent across-the-board cuts in state aid looming (equating to $5 million), we need to be cautious.”
Legislators have until December 20 to review, discuss and adopt the budget. They may make changes to the proposed version before it is adopted, and the public is welcome to watch their deliberations during special management and budget committee meetings on Thursdays, November 5 (1 p.m.), 12 (1 p.m.) and 19 (11:30 a.m.) in the hearing room of the government center in Monticello. Meetings will be livestreamed on the legislature’s webpage.
Formal public hearings about the proposed 2021 county budget will be scheduled in December.