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Budget proposal seeks tax hike

Montgomery County weighs preliminary plan

October 2, 2012
By ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

FONDA - Montgomery County's preliminary 2013 budget includes a 3 percent average tax increase and no layoffs, and uses $1.3 million from the county fund balance.

Montgomery County Treasurer Shawn Bowerman released the $92 million preliminary plan Monday.

Previously, the county was looking at budget figures that showed a $4 million shortfall. To bridge this gap, the preliminary budget uses the fund balance and increases revenue estimates from sales tax by $900,000 and boarding inmates at the county jail by $500,000.

The plan includes no funding for the Office for Aging and Cornell Cooperative Extension, saving $400,000. It lowers the Soil and Water Conservation District's funding by $37,000.

Glen Supervisor Lawrence Coddington said today he was nervous about cutting the Office for Aging funding.

"I find that a difficult cut," Coddington said, stating the office provides a service that is paramount to many of the community's elderly citizens.

"The Cornell cut, we could probably live with that," Coddington said.

Coddington said citizens who pay taxes expect services.

"I think if we keep cutting back, it may come to a point when the taxpayers won't want those services cut anymore," Coddington said.

"I had to put a budget together under the state-mandated [property tax] cap," Bowerman said. "Cuts had to be made."

The county Board of Supervisors will review the preliminary budget and make changes in the coming weeks.

After using $1.34 million from the fund balance under the preliminary plan, the county would be left with $3.8 million in reserves.

The preliminary plan is $153,000 higher than the 2012 budget.

In September, the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors discussed budget-cutting plans, under which more than $3 million and 30 jobs would have been cut.

Those cuts included five sheriff's deputies, one corrections officer and nine positions from the Department of Social Services. Most of the supervisors opposed the proposed deep cuts.

Arthur Cleveland is the Montgomery County reporter. He can be reached at Montco@leaderherald.com.

 
 

 

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