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Local News

October 16, 2013

Schoharie budget plan stays under tax cap

SCHOHARIE — Schoharie County’s tax levy would increase by 1.98 percent in the coming fiscal year while its average county-wide tax rate would dip by 1.52 percent under a proposed budget that would also give raises to many managerial workers and some elected officials, County Treasurer William Cherry said Tuesday.

Cherry said his spending plan is a fiscally responsible blueprint for 2014 that would require no override of the state-imposed 2014 tax cap of 1.66 percent.

No existing programs or services would be cut in a spending plan that would authorize county appropriations — excluding interfund transfers — of nearly $71.7 million.

Two new positions would be added to the county payroll — a payroll clerk in the treasurer’s office and a clerk to process pistol-permit applications for the sheriff’s department. One unfilled position — a supervisor in the county health department — would be eliminated, for a net increase in county jobs of a single position. There would be no layoffs, Cherry said.

He said a recent wave of gun-permit applications appears to be unrelated to the state’s recently enacted gun-control legislation known as the SAFE Act.

Under the state’s complicated equalization rate formula, local county tax rates would vary from town to town, with 14 of the 16 towns in the county experiencing a rate decrease in the tentative budget. The varying rates run the gamut from a 6.71 percent reduction in the town of Wright to a 10.98 percent increase in the town of Gilboa, Cherry said.

Because the county is in relatively good fiscal shape despite being battered by floods from Hurricane Irene in 2011, he said the coming year is a prudent time to address the fact that some managerial workers have had only minute pay increases over the past several years. On the other hand, union employees have seen their compensation rise on average about 17 percent over the past five years, he noted.

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