LITTLE VALLEY - Cattaraugus County 2013 budget has a proposed 3.5 percent tax levy increase, with no further job cuts, and stays under the state's 2 percent tax cap calculations.
The $218.5 million budget was introduced recently by Jack Searles, county administrator. The budget proposal is about $5 million more than the 2012 county budget of $213.6 million. Searles also proposes to use $2,872,833 from the county's surplus, an increase of $770,613 from the 2012 budget.
"The use in the 2013 budget addresses recurring costs; this is not the preferred use of undesignated fund balance. This process causes a structural imbalance within the budget in that the dollar amount appropriated needs to minimally be re-appropriated in subsequent years to maintain operational integrity without growth," Searles wrote. "In 2013, the Pines Olean would use $1,494,653 of their fund balance, an increase of $52,806 above 2012. Similarly, the Pines Machias will use $2,273,373 of their fund balance, an increase of $282,181 above 2012. This all assumes an Intergovernmental Transfer will be received."
Searles said the county also is not budgeting any money from the Seneca Nation of Indians.
"The 2013 budget does not anticipate any revenues that are tied to the Tribal Compact, due largely to the county continuing to be a victim of the ongoing dispute between the State of New York and the Seneca Nation of Indians regarding gaming compact," Searles wrote in his budget message.
While revenue increased $2,650,841, losses or reductions in revenues largely associated with decreased state aid in a variety of departments are hurting the county.
Searles said 2013 will be a transition year especially for departments like health, nursing homes, youth, children with special needs in the county's Youth Bureau, social services, the Sheriff's Office and Community Services that are heavily dependent on Medicaid, Medicare and other state funding.
"The county needs to closely monitor, evaluate, and react to losses of funding. If this does not occur, the loss of state and federal funds will de facto result in substantial reductions in the 2014 tentative budget," Searles wrote.
Budget hearings will begin at 12:30 p.m. today focusing on development and agriculture, county operations, public safety and public works. Hearings start again at 12:30 p.m. Thursday and include labor relations, human services and senior services.
On Tuesday, Nov. 20, finance will be discussed. The budget is expected to be adopted Nov. 20.
A public hearing will be held at 3 p.m. followed by the Cattaraugus County Legislature meeting.