Use more fund balance

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors is working on the county’s 2015 proposed budget, which could result in a hefty tax-rate increase in Gloversville.

On Monday, the board trimmed some spending from the $87.6 million tentative budget and applied an additional $800,000 of the county’s fund balance of unspent tax money to help reduce taxes.

The tentative budget now spends about $6.5 million of Fulton County’s $20 million in reserves and would reduce the average county tax rate by 1.5 percent. However, because of fluctuations in equalization rates, some localities still would see a tax-rate increase, including Gloversville.

We applaud the spending cuts and the use of more fund balance, but the county has more room to cut taxes. The state comptroller’s office recommends municipalities carry about 10 percent to 15 percent of their total budget in fund balance reserves, according to county officials. For Fulton County, that percentage would amount to $8 million to $12 million. The county could use another $1.5 million of the fund balance and still stay within the recommended range.

Before Monday’s budget changes, the plan would have increased the tax rate in Gloversville by 7.1 percent and the rate in the city of Johnstown by 3.7 percent.

Yet, four city supervisors – Gloversville 3rd Ward Supervisor Michael F. Gendron, Gloversville 5th Ward Supervisor Gregory Young, Gloversville 6th Ward Supervisor Warren Green and Johnstown 2nd Ward Supervisor Michael Kinowski – voted against spending the additional $800,000 in fund balance.

The city supervisors should realize taxpayers in the two cities already face a nearly unbearable tax burden. The county must do all it can to keep taxes down.


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