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Board restores funds to agencies

November 28, 2012
By ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

FONDA - Montgomery County's tentative budget for 2013 was altered by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to reinstate funds for services and outside agencies the proposal would have cut.

The tax levy increase in the proposed budget also was reduced to about 2 percent.

The original budget proposal sought to use $1.34 million in fund balance, the amended budget uses around $250,000 more appropriated fund balance than originally prescribed, raising it to $1.59 million used. The tax levy is about $28.1 million.

"Its a move I believe the county can live with," Montgomery County treasurer Shawn Bowerman said. "Of course, the increased use of fund balance is not a good thing."

Bowerman said $4 million remains in the fund balance after the budget process.

The original proposed budget for 2013 totaled $92 million.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Fulton & Montgomery Counties, the county Office for the Aging and the Soil and Water Conservation District had their funding - which was cut or reduced in the original proposed budget for 2013 - reinstated.

Concerns had been raised at previous meetings that the cuts would devastate the services the county provides.

Board of Supervisors Chairman John Thayer said the budgeting process is frustrating at times, calling it an "exercise in frustration."

"When we start in August, we don't have a solid view of where we are, where we have been and how things are going to come together. As we move into November, obviously we get a better picture," Thayer said.

With the changes to the budget, the proposal is still under the tax levy cap, according to information from the board.

However, property tax rate increases are possible in many of the towns, with St. Johnsville possibly seeing a 13 percent tax rate increase.

Minden Supervisor Thomas Quackenbush tried to amend the amount of fund balance used in an attempt to not raise the tax levy, but only Florida Supervisor William Strevy and Amsterdam 5th Ward Supervisor Michael Chiara went along with him. The motion failed.

"If it was adding to the economic health of the county by not spending fund balance, I'd go back to St. Johnsville and tell the people 'This is the way it is, and it helped the county out,'" said St. Johnsville Supervisor Dominick Stagliano. "I'm not going to vote for it when I spent all night trying not to spend any fund balance at all."



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