Cattaraugus County Legislature adopts budget

LITTLE VALLEY With more than half of the near ly$52.4 million tax levy going to retirement and Medicare costs, the entire 21-member Cattaraugus County Legis-lature voted to adopt the 2014 budget that was proposed Nov. 6.

The budget, as a whole, came in around $225.6 million, about $7 million over the $213 million 2013 budget. The increase results in a 2.59 percent higher property tax rate and a 2.72 percent increase in the full value tax rate.

The two programs, $19.3 million and $9.6 million, make up slightly more than 55 percent of the total amount to be levied throughout the county, ac-cording to county resources.

“As the chairman of the Finance Committee, I need to take this time to thank every department head that was a part of this budget,” District 10 Legislator Jim Snyder, R-Olean, said. “All of you made this budget process look easy and painless with your cooperation and abilities to work together. We were able to deliver a balanced budget that re-mained under the 1.6 percent increase we were allowed. I believe everybody got what they wanted out of it.”

With no discussion and very little movement in committee meetings, the budget does not call for a single layoff throughout the county, but does call for the creation of two new positions. A victim’s advocate position will be added in the District Attorney’s Office, as will a temporary deputy Human Resources Director. The deputy director position will be a six-month position, as the person to fill it will be learning the ropes to take the position of director after the temporary deputy position expires.

Most of the municipalities within the county will see increases between 2.75 and 2.76 percent in tax rates. The largest drop will be in the town of Otto, moving from $21.58 per $1,000 assessed valuation to $13.19, a drop of 38.86 percent. The town recently underwent a revaluation that resulted in the tax drop.

The largest increase will be seen in Perrysburg, where a loss of more than 5 percent valuation will result in an increase of 8.65 percent in the tax rate, moving from $18.12 per thousand to $19.68.

In an effort to close the gap of the tax burden to residents, $3.4 million of the county’s undesignated fund balance, commonly called surplus, will be used in the coming year’s budget.

That amount is $500,000 more than the 2013 spending plan.