The latest county budget has been proposed to taxpayers, and it is now in our hands to review and comment on. At first glance, it appears that we have a useful plan to work with that will provide for strong government services while staying within the New York State mandated Tax Cap and keeping the burden on residents to a minimum.
As outlined at the October 1 presentation, the 2015 budget calls for a 1.75 percent increase to $145.4 million, a net increase of $2.5 million over 2014. The average homeowner assessed at $261,219 will pay $989 in 2015, an increase of $13. This is a rather commendable result given that mandated costs continue to rise and constitute over $103 million of the 2015 Budget. Experts have generally viewed this budget as responsible and acceptable by the legislature. Minor “tweaks” have been proposed in the initial Legislative Committee hearings – for example libraries received a modest additional increase. The significant discussions were in regard to personnel issues, and were held in executive sessions.
This week, the full Legislature, which constitutes the Budget Committee, will work out the proposals to come up with a final Budget. A public hearing on the proposed final budget will be held at the Historic Courthouse on Monday, Oct. 27th, and the final adoption of the 2015 Budget will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 29th – or continued into Thursday, Oct. 30th, if additional adjustments are required.
Staying within the proposed budget, and under the NYS imposed Tax Cap, has important implications for future incentives offered by the State, such as “refunds” of surpluses. It appears that our leadership has done their homework, and prepared us to have a positive year in 2015.
As always, be informed and participate. Your vote counts in choosing Putnam’s best representation. Exercise your right and Vote on Tuesday, November 4th!
-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce