County budget has 2% tax-levy hike

FONDA – Montgomery County’s preliminary budget for 2014 outlines a 2 percent tax levy increase compared to this year.

The real property tax levy for 2013 was about $27.4 million. Shawn Bowerman, the county’s treasurer is calling for an increase to about $27.96 million for 2014. The difference is $550,638.

When asked why there will be an increase next year, Bowerman said it’s due to the increase in the cost of doing business in the county.

“Some of the bigger parts of this budget include Medicaid which is up $250,000,” he said. “FMCC’s capital plan of $200,000 is included in this budget, there are increases in fringe benefits, and there are three or four vehicles [for the county] that are going to be purchased. These are the bigger items which are leading to the increase in this budget.”

Most of the municipalities’ tax rates would increase under the tentative budget. The towns of Glen and Canajoharie would see an increase of more than 8 percent, whereas the town of Mohawk and the city of Amsterdam would have a decreased tax rate.

Bowerman said this is due to the municipalities’ equalization rates.

The total projected spending for all funds totals about $101.1 million. According to Bowerman’s current calculations he said the tentative budget is under the 2014 tax-levy cap by a little more than $500,000.

The fund balance for the county is currently at $7.3 million. The budget proposal would spend $2.3 million of the fund balance.

There are no job cuts included in the budget proposal.

St. Johnsville Supervisor Dominic Stagliano noted the budget is still a work in progress.

“We’re reviewing and seeing what department heads think of it. Taxes are higher and obviously we don’t like that,” he said.

This week and next week the Financial Committee will meet to hear from department heads on why they need certain requests in their budget. On Tuesday night, the committee heard from: Dan Colon, the director of internet technology and data processing in the county; Sandra Frasier, the director of real property; and Terrance Smith, the Republican commissioner for the Board of Elections.

The information committee members receive from these meetings will be used to help create a budget recommendation for the full board meeting. This recommendation is due within 20 days of the tentative budget’s release, which was Oct. 1.

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