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Fulton County budget edges in with 1.6% increase

Just below state cap of 1.8 percent

Fulton County Budget Director Alice Kuntzsch gives a presentation on the county's 2017 budget to the Board of Supervisors Monday at the County Office Building in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton County Board of Supervisors on Monday reviewed the county’s tentative $97.3 million budget, which carries a slight tax rate increase and boosts supervisors’ salaries by nearly 3 percent.

The tentative property tax levy will be $28.1 million. The average county property tax rate shows a 1.6 percent increase –below the state tax cap of 1.8 percent. The average county tax rate would increase from $10.15 per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $10.31 per $1,000.

Under the tentative budget, the average property owner with a $100,000 home will see a $16 increase on their tax bill.

The town of Caroga had the highest increase in dollars changed per $1,000 of assessed valuation with an additional 23 cents on its tax rate. The lowest increase was the city of Gloversville at 11 cents per $1,000.

Following a presentation by county budget director Alice Kuntzsch, the board “accepted” her tentative budget. The board will now look toward adoption later in the month, but scheduled a public hearing for 1:30 p.m. Nov. 28 in the supervisor’s chambers at the County Office Building.

The board also set a budget workshop for 1 p.m. Monday at the same location. According to the tentative budget, the board is calling for a 2.75 percent increase in the salaries of its 20 members. The chairman’s salary will be $10,665 and the other 19 salaries will be $8,102 each.

“This year’s appropriations increased by $8.5 million,” Kuntzsch said.

Appropriations for next year are expected to rise mostly due to construction costs associated with a proposed expansion of the county landfill in 2017.

Kuntzsch also said the county Department of Social Services reduced its overall accounts by about $1.3 million.

“Human services is the largest part of the budget,” she said.

The county’s share of sales tax revenue was increased by $300,000 in the tentative budget. Federal and state aid in the county budget is expected to increase by 2.1 percent, or $425,000 for 2017.  Supervisors this year already applied just over $5 million in county fund balance to balance the tentative budget.

Kuntzsch said county employee benefits will increase by about $1 million, or 7.4 percent, primarily due to a 10 percent increase in health insurance.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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