NORWICH – Facing increasing expenses burdened by local taxpayers, Chenango County officials are joining a fight against New York State for the provision of mandate relief.
In June, Chenango County government embedded a link on its homepage website (www.co.chenango.ny.us) encouraging local residents to petition against New York State’s increasing number of obligatory but unfunded programs and services. According to county leaders, local laws authorized by the state, but not paid for by the state, are restricting local governments. And with a likely state mandated tax cap of approximately 1.44 percent in 2015, they say something has to give.
“These unfunded mandates are still a growing figure for us,” said Lawrence Wilcox, Chairman of the Chenango County Board of Supervisors. “They push against us on a regular basis, and they take up a big share of the annual budget.”
Topping the list of unfunded mandates is Medicaid, which the county is budgeted for $10 million (nearly $200,000 per week) in 2014 after state reimbursements. Other mandates plaguing the county include day care assistance and special education services, probation programs, indigent defense, youth detention, and employee pensions.