Chenango Budget Has .01 Percent Increase

By: Melissa deCordova

NORWICH – Chenango County’s financial leaders spent the last two weeks paring down previous budget estimates of a 2.2 percent increase on the levy to a mere .01 percent.

Finance Committee Chairman Lawrence Wilcox, R-Oxford, said he had hoped for a zero increase in order to take the pressure off taxpayers who are already strained by the nation’s growing financial crises.

“We came awfully close,” he said Wednesday.

Wilcox’s committee will present the county government’s budget to the full Board of Supervisors for consideration when they meet on Monday. The real property tax levy of $22.7 million is up about $3,096 or 0.01 percent. The average countywide tax rate of $15.48 will fluctuate, either increasing or decreasing, in all 22 municipalities based on state-established equalization rates. The tentative tax rate dropped an average of 35 cents per $1,000 of assessed value from last year.

Budgeters first slashed the public works department’s projections for fuel costs next year as a result of lower prices at the pump currently. They also mandated a 10 percent reduction across all departments for travel and training, and took back a total of $45,000 from the county clerk’s, board of elections’ and sheriff’s departments. They also increased anticipated revenues from the newly approved cell phone surcharge policy.

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