Legislature Adopts 2018 Budget

Spending Plan Includes Tax Decrease For Fourth Year

Chautauqua County legislators unanimously approved the 2018 budget on Wednesday night, which included a 4 cent tax decrease. P-J photo by Katrina Fuller

MAYVILLE — The 2018 Chautauqua County budget was approved by the legislature in fairly short order on Wednesday night.

The budget, including suggested changes from legislative committees, reflects a property tax levy of $61,024,350 and a tax rate of $8.44 per $1,000 of assessed value, which is a tax decrease of 4 cents.

In County Executive Vince Horrigan’s original tentative budget, the proposal called for a 10-cent tax increase. However, the legislative committees reviewed the budget and found areas to suggest cuts.

The budget was unanimously approved by members of the legislature.

Legislator Terry Niebel, R-Sheridan, thanked the Audit and Control Committee for its hard work on the budget and the other subcommittees as well.

“What this tax cut and tax cuts in the past three years signify is that legislature recognizes that taxes are too high, and we’re doing something about it,” Niebel said.

He said he hopes tax cuts will keep more people in the county and noted that providing a tax decrease for four consecutive years is an achievement.

Legislator Chuck Nazzaro, D-Jamestown, said he had been a part of 10 budget processes, and this had been the smoothest of them all.

After the meeting, Horrigan said the budget was solid and the county will be “solvent through 2022,” meaning that there will be sufficient reserves which will be in the state comptroller’s window to properly manage county finances for the next five years. Horrigan pointed out the county will have tax rates 37 cents per $1,000 below the average of Western New York counties.

“We’re in the right direction going the right way and I’m very encouraged for the future,” he said.

Legislator Pierre Chagnon, R-Bemus Point, said the budget presented a “tough mountain to climb this year.” However, through the process, the legislature was able to cut taxes and every member contributed.

“We had department heads coming to us saying, ‘I have a suggestion for how you can reduce my budget,'” Chagnon said. “Unbelievable.”

Chagnon said he cannot give any assurance that the budget next year will have a tax decrease. He said many believed tax cuts couldn’t be achieved in succession as they have been the past few years and they have been.

Chagnon said government is Chautauqua County has changed in the past few years, and a lot of that is due to the county executive.

“He has changed the direction of this county, he’s changed the way that we govern and he’s changed our view and vision of the future,” he said. “This is the results.”

In other news, several public comments were made regarding the proposed extension of the South and Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer Districts through the Hamlet of Stow for the West side of Chautauqua Lake, both in favor of and against the resolution.

The resolution regarded the determinations the legislature had made regarding the extension, including that the proposed facilities for the extension are satisfactory and sufficient; that the property and property owners within the proposed extension would be benefited by the extension; everyone benefited will be included with he proposed extension; it is in the public interest; and the proportion of the cost of the system of the original districts included in the cost of the extension shall be zero.

The resolution was approved by the legislature.