Chautauqua County 2018 Budget Process To Begin

The 2018 budget process for Chautauqua County will soon begin, according to Pierre Chagnon, Audit and Finance Committee chairman.

A resolution to schedule hearings for the budget review process, sewer district assessment rolls and maximum salary of Chautauqua County Legislature members and its chairman was approved during the Thursday morning committee meeting.

Salaries for legislative members have not changed since last year, Chagnon said. According to the resolution, in 2018, each legislator should have a salary of no more than $9,000 and the Chairman of the Legislature should have a salary no more than $8,000, in addition to the salary recieved as a legislator.

Also, the compensation for the majority leader should be $1,000; $1,000 for the minority leader; $500 for the assistant majority leader; $500 for the assistant miniority leader; committee chairmen should recieve $1,000 and ranking members should recieve $250.

A public hearing on the tentative county budget will be held simultaneously with a hearing on the North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District and the Portland-Pomfret-Dunkirk Sewer District Assessment Rolls on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 2 and 6:30 p.m. in the Legislative Chambers in the Gerace Office Building in Mayville.

This marks the start of what can be a time-consuming, but important process, he said. The audit and control committee will begin meeting with the heads of Chautauqua County departments as of Monday, Oct. 2. The intent is to connect with each department head and gain an understanding of what is happening in the department, what the needs are and give the department time to bring items and issues to the attention of the committee.

County Executive Vince Horrigan will present his tenative budget next week. Chagnon said the Legislature has until December to make changes to the tenative budget, or that budget will become the budget that is adopted.

Chagnon said in the past few years, not many changes have been needed. Also, in the past three years, the tax rate has been lowered.

“We’d like to do that again,” he said.

Until the new tentative budget for 2018 is revealed, Chagnon said it remains to be seen if the tax rate can be lowered. Another unknown factor is how much of an impact the opioid epidemic will have on the county budget. However, Chagnon said the Legislature is optimistic for this year’s budget process.