Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 12:46 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, budget, Warsaw.

Press release:

The New York State budget includes $180,000 for the Wyoming County Indigent Parolee Program. The funding will ensure that the program will continue to provide required defense services for parolees throughout the county.

"Communities with a high prison population, such as Wyoming County, face a huge financial burden in providing legal services and counsel to thousands of individuals going through the parole process,” said Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma). “The Indigent Parolee Program helps to protect local governments and taxpayers while ensuring parolees receive required legal advice.” 

New York State law entitles poor people facing parole proceedings to court-appointed counsel. The Indigent Parolee Program reimburses the mandated expenses incurred by localities providing the service, especially those with prisons in their jurisdictions.

“We are grateful for the successful efforts of Senator Gallivan in securing the funding necessary to run what is a state-mandated service for individuals who primarily are not county residents, but inmates at the two correctional facilities in Wyoming County,” said Norman Effman, Wyoming County public defender and executive director of the Wyoming County-Attica Legal Aid Bureau.

“Without Senator Gallivan’s efforts, this would be another unfunded mandate on Wyoming County. Because of his efforts, the state is rightly paying for a constitutionally mandated service that should be a state obligation.” 

Funding for the program is administered through the NYS Department of Criminal Justice Services.

Thursday, December 29, 2016 at 3:38 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, government, Warsaw, budget.

If Gov. Andrew Cuomo passes the Indigent Defense Bill, Wyoming County residents could see an estimated $100,000 in additional revenue to offset the cost – once the bill is fully effective.

The New York State Bar Association President Claire P. Gutekunst recently urged the governor to sign a bill (S.8114) requiring the state government to assume the costs of providing indigent criminal defense services. The cost of public defense, currently financed by county governments, will be phased in over a seven-year period.

“The bill in front of the Governor outlines a slow and fairly steady State reimbursement structure for the counties to provide quality legal defense to the indigent,” said Wyoming County Reimbursement and Budget Administrator Janis A. Cook. “That reimbursement will slowly increase over a seven-year period to 100-percent reimbursement of all indigent defense effective 2023.”

The adopted 2017 reflects a levy of $407,000. If this was in effect for the 2017 budget, Cook says, it would have reduced the levy increase by roughly half a percent.

"This measure represents a major advance in providing quality legal representation to low-income criminal defendants, as required by the U.S. Constitution," Gutekunst said.

Ultimately, if this is passed and adhered to without changes or cuts in the future, it would be a significant impact to the county’s bottom line. 

Founded in 1876, the 74,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. 

Friday, December 16, 2016 at 4:01 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, government, budget, Warsaw.

The Wyoming County 2017 proposed budget was passed by the County Board of Supervisors earlier this week.

However, the 2017 budget did not receive unanimous consent. Middlebury Town Supervisor Dan Leuer was the lone dissenter of the budget vote, saying there "wasn’t much to like about it."

The county’s budget shows an increase for community college at $510,000 and $591,747 for Medicaid, both state-required mandated expenses. Just those two mandated expenses make up approximatey $1.1 of the more than $1.2 million increase in mandated expenses for 2017. Additionally, the budget increases costs to the Sheriff’s Department to hire an additional deputy (approximately $85,000, which includes salary and fringe benefits) and funding for Community Action ($10,000), both of which Leuer say are worthy increases.

However, before the budget was passed, the Board held a public hearing on the state’s tax cap.

The state would allow for a .94-percent increase on the tax levy, however, it falls close to 1.6 million shy of the proposed budget. The total levy for all districts is 8.29 percent when you add in those for special districts: Board of Elections -- $21,486; recycling -- $2.039 million; and workers' compensation -- $601,664.

Additionally, mandated program expenses account for more than 102 percent of the county coffers.

With no one from the public commenting and prior to the vote, Board of Supervisors Chairman Doug Berwanger reminded those in attendance that there has been “minimal if any actual mandate relief,” with the exception of capping the Medicaid increase the past few years.

With the measure approved, Leuer then spoke to all board members, saying Middlebury residents objected to their tax rate increase – 9.67 percent – which takes into account the town’s equalization rate.

Nine of the county’s 16 towns have an equalization rate at 100 percent – Attica, Castile, Covington, Gainesville, Genesee Falls, Orangeville, Perry, Pike and Warsaw. The remaining towns vary from 45 percent in Bennington to 96 percent in Wethersfield.

The 2017 budget includes:

    • Total spending of $128.9 million with a proposed tax levy of $20.324 million reflecting an increase of 8.04 percent over the 2016 adopted tax levy, an increase of 4.41 percent taxable valuation, and a proposed tax rate at 100-percent assessment of $8.91 per $1,000 (2.89 percent);

    • Allocations for contract agencies: In addition to Community Action; Chamber of Commerce & Tourism – $150, 234; Business Education Council – $4,300; Business Center – $60,000; Arts Council $11,432; Wildlife Federation – $904; Soil and Water – $159,710; Cornell Cooperative Extension – $390,400; and the Fair Association – $23,000;

    • While a full-time deputy position has been created, a full-time planner position has been eliminated;

    • Hospital fund: 42.19 percent – $54.38 million;

    • Highway fund: 6.15 percent – $7.93 million; and 

    • Workers' Compensation fund: 2.45 percent – $3.16 million.

For the full budget click here

Friday, November 18, 2016 at 4:56 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, budget, government, Warsaw.

Mandated expenses imposed on counties via New York State continue to drive the budget and limit local flexibility. With a levy of approximately $20 million, 100 percent is for mandated services directed by the state.

Wyoming County recently released the tentative 2017 budget. A public hearing will be held concerning it at the Government Center, Main Street, Warsaw at 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Nov. 22. A copy of the tentative budget is available at http://www.wyomingco.net/.

“It costs taxpayers $2 million a year for county residents to attend a community college,” said Wyoming County Board of Supervisors Chairman Doug Berwanger. “Whether you own your own property or rent, the cost is being passed down to the residents.”

Additionally, the county is also responsible for paying costs associated for high school students who take college-level courses while in high school.

This year alone, Genesee Community College raised its tuition by 32 percent, of which, Wyoming County has no voice. The mandated community college cost increased by more than $500,000 for 2017. 

Each county is responsible to absorb 75 percent of the cost of tuition per student who enroll in a community college, whether they attend secondary school in the county or not. The remaining 25 percent is split between the state and the student.

In addition to contributing to community college costs, out of the nine mandated programs identified in the 2010 New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) "9 for 90" campaign, Medicaid is the most expensive – costing taxpayers approximately $7.5 million annually. The 2017 budget reflects an increase of $600,000 – a requirement as part of a federal matching program for the nursing home. The figure is representative of a 50-percent match the county pays into Medicaid. 

“New York State is one of five states in the union that mandate that their counties pay any cost for Medicaid,” Berwanger said. “Luckily for us, we pay 25 percent and the state pays 25 percent. Additionally, any new entitlement programs are reflected on the tax levy.”

The costs associated with Medicaid and community college have added approximately $1.1 million to the county levy over the adopted 2016 budget. Other mandates, though minimal, include a salary increase for the District Attorney, expanded eligibility for Public Defender services, and increased reporting to name a few.

Next to property taxes, sales tax is the next largest revenue source in the county’s General Fund. The 2017 tentative budget estimates $17,000,000 will be collected in sales tax revenue. While counties across the state could safely estimate a 3-percent increase in sales tax revenue a year, Wyoming County’s actual receipts show this amount has not changed since 2012. 

One of the main sources of sales tax is from gasoline sales. While the lower gas price benefits the consumer, without consumers spending additional dollars in the county, future budgets will be affected as well. Wyoming County gets $.04 on the dollar on sales tax for both gasoline and cigarette sales.

In an effort to generate additional sales tax revenue, the Wyoming County Chamber & Tourism Office has initiated the annual holiday campaign Shop Local.

“We run the county on sales tax. That is what pays for services in the county,” Berwanger said.

While the states property tax cap is limited to 2 percent – or the rate of inflation, whichever is less – the actual calculated cap for the county allows for a levy increase of .94 percent or $198,585.

The proposed 2017 budget appropriations total $128,900,000, which reflects an increase of 4.55 percent ($5,610,324) more than 2016. Proposed revenue increases sit at 3.81 percent ($3,934,945). 

However, in an effort to reduce the tax levy, surplus funds have been applied from the General Fund ($750,000), the Highway Fund ($382,248), and the Machinery Fund ($131,131), for a total of $1,263,379. This represents a tax-rate increase of 2.89 percent. For a home with a full value of $92,500, the increase is $23.11.

These figures, however, do not reflect amounts that will be added for the Board of Elections, workers compensation, recycling program, or corrections. 

As of Nov. 14, the total debt of the county is $37,176,000, this is $4,3331,000 more than the 2016 amount of $32,845,000. A majority of the debt is associated with the renovation and upgrades to Wyoming County Community Hospital and nursing facility, a balance remaining just under $18 million. 

Another large investment was made to the county’s road infrastructure. The county approved an additional $12 million in borrowing to complete the remaining roads identified in the 2009 Better Pavement Program.

“The only option we would have to lower the proposed tax levy is by cutting staff and services from agencies. However, it was apparent through public meetings what the public wanted...When services are needed and wanted, there is no alternative but to raise taxes. We are at the mercy of New York State.”

The proposed 2017 tentative budget does not include salary increases for management and elected personnel; no salary increases for employees represented by the CSEA bargaining unit, the Sheriff Employees’ Association, and the Deputy Sheriff’s Association or the Schedule E CSEA Supervisory Unit (WCCH). 

The proposed budget does reflect several staff adjustments, including the addition of one full-time deputy and the elimination of one full-time planner.

For the complete figures for the 2017 tentative budget click here

Monday, April 4, 2016 at 10:18 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, government, budget, Sen. Gallivan.

Press release:

Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) said the $155.6 billion 2016-17 State Budget reflects the Senate’s commitment to improving economic opportunities for all New Yorkers.

The budget increases school aid by $1.5 billion and eliminates the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) education funding cuts.nIt also provides one of the largest income tax reductions in history for middle class taxpayers, ensures regional balance in infrastructure investments, and builds on the state’s progress in making New York more affordable.

“The new budget is not perfect, but I believe it is a responsible plan that controls the cost of government and provides tax relief to hard working families across New York through a new middle-class income tax cut,” Gallivan said. “In addition to a record high level of education funding, we also achieved one of my top priorities in finally eliminating the GEA, which has had a devastating impact on our schools over the past several years.

"We are also providing parity in transportation funding to ensure that Upstate New York receives its fair share of road and bridge projects and the jobs they create.”

Restoring fiscal discipline

For the sixth straight year, the budget stays within the self-imposed 2-percent spending cap. This has already saved New York taxpayers a cumulative total of approximately $31 billion.

Making record investments in schools

Schools will see a $1.5 billion increase in aid in this year’s budget for a total education investment of nearly $25 billion. This increase is hundreds of millions of dollars over the original Executive Budget proposal and when combined with the STAR school tax relief program, the state’s total commitment to supporting public education is more than $28 billion this year.

Budget highlights include:

    • A $1.06 billion increase in total operating support to include a $626.6 million increase in Foundation Aid over 2015-16 and the elimination of $434 million in GEA cuts;

    • Full funding of $341.4 million in Expense Base Aids; and

    • Restoring $56 million in STAR benefits as a result of rejecting the Executive Budget proposal to cap STAR at 2015-16 levels.
The budget also permanently eliminates the $434 million remaining of the GEA cuts for schools this year. The GEA was introduced in 2010 by then governor David Paterson as a way to help close the state’s $10 billion budget deficit, reducing education aid to all school districts by billions of dollars.

Providing real tax relief

Millions of middle class New Yorkers will be eligible for a new tax cut that totals $6.6 billion over the first four years and brings middle-class income taxes down to the lowest rate since 1948. By 2025 when the tax cut is fully phased in, it will provide an average savings of $700 per taxpayer per year. An annual total savings of $4.2 billion.

This year’s budget also continues providing the funds needed to implement $3.3 billion in STAR savings for property taxpayers. This will allow $414 million in property tax rebate and freeze checks that will be issued this year, with the average savings of $350 per eligible household. Basic and Enhanced STAR savings will be $2.7 billion.

Ensuring fairness in transportation funding

The budget includes a major Senate priority of ensuring transportation funding that is distributed fairly and is regionally-balanced. It includes a $27.1-billion transportation capital plan to achieve true parity in infrastructure funding between Upstate and Downstate.

Meanwhile, the state’s Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) will receive $438 million this year to help local governments move forward with important local highway, road, and bridge repair projects. In addition, the Pave NY/Bridge NY program will receive $800 million over the next four years for local roads and bridges. This includes $400 million ($100 million per year) for local projects distributed based on the CHIPS formula and $400 million for local bridge projects that will incorporate local solicitation.

This year’s budget also includes $1 billion over five years for other transportation modes, including $397 million for Upstate and non-MTA Downstate transit systems, $352 million for rail freight, and $282 million for aviation.

Making college more affordable

The budget provides more than $1 billion for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and freezes State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) tuition this year. The new budget also boosts funding for SUNY and CUNY community colleges with an additional $20 million, increasing the full-time equivalent (FTE) funding for the state’s community colleges by $100 and making the base aid $2,697 per FTE for 2016-17.

The final budget rejects an Executive Budget proposal known as the Dream Act. This would have cost state taxpayers $27 million and reward people who are here illegally by giving them free college tuition.

Helping meet the health needs of New York’s families

The budget initiates a new program to allow working New Yorkers to spend time with a sick family member or bond with a new child. The employee-paid program will be phased-in over the next four years. It will include workers who have been in their current job for at least six months in order to provide protections and necessary financial resources so that family support can be available.

Meanwhile, community-based health care providers, hospitals, nursing homes, home care and other facilities statewide will be eligible to receive $200 million in new funds. The funds will be used to support critical capital and infrastructure improvements, as well as to integrate and further develop health systems.

Other highlights include:

    • The final budget also includes $166 million in funding to help address public health crisis caused by heroin and opioid abuse in communities throughout the state.

    • The final budget restores millions of dollars in funding for women’s and family health initiatives, among other programs. It includes $25.3 million for Cancer Services Programs; $26.3 million for Nutritional Information for Women, Infants, and Children; $9.7 million for chronic disease prevention; $5.5 million for Rape Crisis Centers; $2.3 million for the Prenatal Care Program; $9.65 million for the Doctors Across New York Program and restores $25 million in Excess Medical Malpractice Coverage to recruit and attract physicians to underserved communities; and $1 million to support organ donation, among other programs.
    • The budget will fully fund the state’s elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program at $131.5 million to help seniors with their prescription drug costs. To help protect vulnerable senior citizens, the budget includes $700,000 to support elder abuse prevention initiatives.

Protecting the environment

The budget includes record funding of $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) to protect natural resources and ensure clean water and clean air. This is a 70-percent increase of $123 million over 2015-16 funding.

The budget also provides more funding to support critical water and environmental infrastructure improvements in the final budget.

Growing New York’s farms

The final budget restores more than $9 million for 30 agriculture programs that were cut in the Executive Budget proposal. These measures are necessary to support the growth of New York’s agriculture industry and helping family farms succeed.

The budget also includes $115,000 in new funding for an innovative proposal by Cornell’s Small Farms Program to help establish up to five veteran-owned small farms through a first-in-the-nation pilot program. Returning veterans and those seeking a career change could be encouraged to try agriculture, using benefits they’ve earned under the GI Bill to gain training and expertise to begin their own successful small business. In turn, these sites would be available to train additional veteran farmers in future years.

Supporting our veterans

The new budget continues support for veterans by including funding for programs including: $2.8 million for the Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer-to-Peer Program; $500,000 for the NYS Defenders Association Veteran’s Defense Program; $500,000 for the Veterans Outreach Center in Monroe County; $450,000 for the Veteran’s Mental Health Training Initiative and Military Families Advocacy Project; and $200,000 for Warrior Salute, among other initiatives.

Thursday, December 10, 2015 at 12:18 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, government, budget, Warsaw.

In a 16 to 1 vote, the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors approved the county’s 2016 budget on Tuesday.

Prior to the vote, Middlebury Town Supervisor Dan Leuer proposed an amendment to restore funding to six county agencies: Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, Business Education Council, Business Center, Arts Council, Wildlife Federation, and Soil & Water Conservation District; and two partner agencies -- Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Wyoming County Fair Association.

The board reduced the budgets by 20 percent, saving roughly $150,000. The proposal was shot down by the board. Subsequently, Leuer was the only vote against the budget itself.

While the $123 million budget cuts spending across the board by $1.2 million, surplus money from the General and Highway funds – which totaled $1.4 million – was applied to the budget in an effort to reduce the tax levy. Additionally, a county-wide hiring and salary freeze has been implemented.

The $18.8 million tax levy is an increase of $624,785 or 3.44 percent over 2015. However, prior to passing the budget, the Board of Supervisors had to create and adopt a local law to override the state’s 2-percent tax cap limit.

Still looming is an anticipated share of $355 million in federal funding that would allow the county to restore cuts. The county expects to know later this month if it will receive the $20 million it applied for to aid the funding of the Wyoming County Community Health System (WCCHS).

The grant would be a multi-year benefit for the county’s $1.3 million annual debt repayment for the renovation project at WCCHS.

See related: WyCo 2016 budget available for review and Residents in favor of keeping full funding of services in 2016 proposed budget.

Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 1:48 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, government, budget, Warsaw.

Although very few people voiced their opinion at Tuesday’s public hearing on the proposed 2016 budget for Wyoming County, more than 100 sent letters to the Board of Supervisors. Each one of those voices, spoken and written alike, concurred: full funding for Wyoming County Cornell Cooperative Extension, Wyoming County Soil & Water Conservation District, and the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce is warranted, as all three organizations provide essential support.

The proposed 2016 budget totals $123,289,676, which reflects a 1-percent decrease from 2015. In an effort to reduce the tax levy, surplus funds have been applied form the General and the Highway funds for a total of $1.4 million.

Additionally, the county increased the Reserved for Uncollectible taxes by $300,000. However, the board also reduced the budgets of its partner agencies by 20 percent, saving roughly $150,000.

The 2016 allocations include:

    • Chamber of Commerce and Tourism -- $135,984;

    • Business Education Council -- $4,300;

    • Business Center -- $60,000;

    • Arts Council -- $11,432;

    • Wildlife Federation -- $904.32; and

    • Soil and Water -- $128,130.12.

Other agencies include:

    • Cornell Cooperative Extension -- $364,400; and 

    • Wyoming County Fair Association -- $18,000.

“We received some 120 letters in favor of raising the taxes to keep services,” said Wyoming County Board of Supervisors Chairman Doug Berwanger. “If there wasn’t a 20-percent cut to our partner agencies, the tax rate would be a proposed 4.2 percent instead of the proposed 3.44 percent.”

The proposed tax levy is $18,812,000, which is an increase of $624,785 or 3.44 percent over 2015. The taxable valuation is $1,958,246,587, an increase of 1.79 percent; and the proposed tax rate at 100-percent assessment is $8.66 per thousand, which is unchanged from the 2015 rate.

While the General County Levy’s Revenue, Expenses and Reserve to Offset, decreased in the 2016 proposed budget, State mandates account for 104 percent of the county tax levy. According to the local budget office, nine programs (about $19.5 million) are state mandated -- more than the proposed levy of $18.8 million. Therefore, additional revenue must be culled from other sources such as sales tax, which accounts for the 104-percent figure cited.

The mandates include:

  • Medicaid, including a $1.5 million local share of estimated IGT funding, $6,795,000;
  • All other mandated Department of Social Services Programs, $3,574,132;
  • New York State Retirement Contribution, $5,537,269;
  • Community Colleges, $1,625,000;
  • Probation, $588,761;
  • Indigent Defense, $245,769;
  • Special Ed Pre-K, $970,731;
  • Early Intervention, $227,953.

The General Fund and the Hospital Fund comprise 89 percent of the budget’s expenditures, with the remaining 11 percent divvied between the Machinery, Highway, Workers Compensation, Job Training, and Capital Improvement funds.

Social Services (19.6 percent), Public Safety (18.5 percent), General Government 12.2 percent, and Medicaid (11.5 percent) are the largest expenditures from the General Fund. 

While Federal and State Aid account for 26 percent of the General Fund’s revenue, 34 percent is from Real Property Taxes, and 30 percent is from state Sales Tax.

In a letter to the board by members of the Wyoming County Farm Bureau, it states in part:

If the Board of Supervisors were to fully fund the contract agencies, the Board of Supervisors would need to increase the tax levy by an additional 0.82 percent...To the average homeowner with a property assessment of $100,000 the additional increase is just $7. Depending on the farm size and type, this dollar amount would vary.

As the County Board of Supervisors is already considering such a large increase in the tax levy, it would seem prudent to go ahead and include the additional 0.82 percent and fully fund the contract agencies that have been and continue to be critical to the success of the agriculture industry in Wyoming County.

To review the full budget visit http://www.wyomingco.net/

See related: WyCo 2016 budget is available for review

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at 2:16 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, government, taxes, budget.

Facing a 10-percent increase in the tax levy for 2016, it was clear that Wyoming County officials needed to take action and reduce expenditures. It was time to ask the community what local services were most important to them – all the county levy and some local revenue are spent on state-mandated services.

Public forums were held in the Spring throughout the county, providing a platform for ideas, questions and answers. According to Wyoming County Board of Supervisors Chairman Doug Berwanger, the meetings were “successful” and the feedback was “phenomenal.”

The proposed 2016 budget appropriations total $123,289,676, which reflect a 1-percent decrease or $1,247,680 less than 2015. In an effort to reduce the tax levy, surplus funds have been applied from the General and the Highway funds for a total of $1.4 million. 

Additionally, due to unusually large potential unpaid tax liabilities identified in 2015, it was deemed prudent for the county to increase the Reserve for Uncollectible taxes by $300,000. That amount was added directly to the total tax levy for 2016; a 0-percent increase for a home with a full value of $92,000 (median sale value 2014).

While the overall tax rate would increase 1.26 percent, Genesee Falls, Pike and Wethersfield will see a decrease. Here's the breakdown: 

    • Genesee Falls -- 2 percent decrease;

    • Pike -- 3 percent decrease;

    • Wethersfield -- 4 percent decrease;

    • Arcade -- 2.13 percent increase;

    • Attica -- no increase;

    • Bennington -- 4.44 percent increase;

    • Castile -- 2.04 percent increase;

    • Covington --  no increase;

    • Eagle -- no increase;

    • Gainesville -- 5.26 percent increase;

    • Java -- 1.18 percent increase;

    • Middlebury -- 3.09 percent increase;

    • Orangeville -- 2.04 percent increase;

    • Perry -- no increase;

    • Sheldon -- 3.49 percent increase;

    • Warsaw -- 2.04 percen increase;

However, the state property tax cap limits the increase in taxes levied by local governments and school districts to 2 percent (or the rate of inflation). It also allows for real property growth in the tax base. The state calculated the cap for the county to allow for an increase of 1.01 percent, due to the low rate of inflation. Therefore, a local law to override the property tax cap must be adopted before the budget can be accepted.

A public hearing to adopt Local Law No. G Year 2015 has been scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Dec. 8 in the Supervisors’ Chambers, 2nd floor of the Wyoming County Government Center, 143 N. Main St., Warsaw.

Other budget details include:

    • The tentative budget does not include salary increases for management and elected personnel. Additionally, in most funds, no salary increases have been budgeted for employees represented by the CSEA (union) bargaining unit, the Sheriff Employees’ Association and the Deputy Sheriff’s Association or the Schedule E CSEA Supervisory unit (WCCH) as negotiations are currently in process.

    • Several staff reductions are reflective including a combination of retirements, elimination of some temporary and seasonal staff, as well as reducing hours of some positions. This resulted in an estimated savings of roughly $240,000 for the General Fund and $200,000 for the Hospital fund. 

    • The tentative budget reflects the cost of computer capital equipment purchased by the Information Technology Department. This allows for a more efficient process by incorporating the most up-to-date changes in technology.

    • Money has been allocated for the purchase of new vehicles by the Sheriff’s Department and the Department of Social Services.

The board also reduced the budgets of its partner agencies by 20 percent, saving roughly $150,000.

The 2016 allocations for these Wyoming County agencies include:

    • Chamber of Commerce and Tourism: $135,984;

    • Business Education Council: $4,300;

    • Business Center: $60,000;

    • Arts Council: $11,432;

    • Wildlife Federation: $904.32; and

    • Soil and Water: $128,130.12.

Other agencies include:

    • Cornell Cooperative Extension: $364,400; and 

    • Wyoming County Fair Association: $18,000.

After property taxes, sales tax is the next largest revenue source in the county’s General Fund. An estimated $16,950,000 will be collected in sales tax revenue in 2016. On average, counties across the state could safely estimate a 3-percent increase in sales tax revenue a year. However, in Wyoming County, actual receipts show this amount has not budged since 2012. 

While one of the main sources of sales tax in the county is from gasoline sales, consumers also need to spend money at local shops and markets. To encourage residents to do their holiday shopping in the county, the Chamber of Commerce initiated an annual holiday season campaign – Shop Local. The success of the campaign is evident in the total sales receipts entered each year.

As of Nov. 15, the total indebtedness for the county is $32,845,000 – $1,964,000 less than the 2015 amount of $34,809,000. A majority of the debt is associated with the renovations to Wyoming County Community Hospital and Nursing Facility; a balance of approximately $195 million remains. The other large investment was made to the county’s road infrastructure – a balance of $8.3 million.

A public hearing of the tentative 2016 budget will be held at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 1 in the Supervisors’ Chambers, 2nd floor of the Wyoming County Government Center, 143 N. Main St., Warsaw.

For the complete tentative budget report visit http://www.wyomingco.net/ or pick one up at the Board of Supervisors Office. 

Monday, March 16, 2015 at 11:33 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, government, budget.

Press release:

The New York State Senate Republican Majority approved a budget plan Thursday. The plan is designed to create a new property tax rebate program for middle-class homeowners, increase aid to education and eliminate the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA). It also makes significant investments in New York’s infrastructure.

“This is a fiscally responsible budget that provides relief for hardworking taxpayers and once-and-for-all abolishes the GEA, which has caused financial harm to school districts across the state,” said Sen. Patrick Gallivan. ““It also wisely invests in rebuilding of our roads and bridges, supports job creation by cuttings costs for small businesses and promotes New York’s agriculture industry.”

The Senate plan is in response to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal and will be included in on-going budget negotiations. It creates a new property tax rebate program that, when combined with the existing property tax freeze credit, will provide the average New York homeowner with a rebate check totaling $458. When including the STAR exemption, homeowners would receive the most property tax relief in state history this year.

Nearly two million New York homeowners wouldn’t receive a dollar in additional relief if the governor’s original tax plan is approved. Conversely, the Senate’s broader tax cut proposal would apply to all STAR eligible homeowners – approximately 3.3 million people. Additionally, the senate budget will make the statewide property tax cap permanent.

The senate budget also completely eliminates the $1 billion that remains of the GEA imposed by Democrats in 2010. Furthermore, it would increase state school aid by approximately $800 million more than what the governor proposed in his Executive Budget. The additional $1.9 billion school aid increase advanced by Senate Republicans is also distributed fairly and equitably to every region of the state.

The chamber’s one-house budget increases the per-pupil charter school aid by $150 more than the governor’s $75 hike, for a total per-pupil increase of $225, and accepts his recommendation to lift the charter school cap. To provide even more opportunities for school-age children, the Senate includes the Education Investment Tax Credit in its budget.

The budget also makes college more affordable for New York families by increasing community college base aid by $100. This will raise the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) ceiling to include families making up to $100,000 a year, rather than the current $80,000 income limit. It will benefice an 15,800 students.

Furthermore, Senate Republicans propose doubling the tuition tax credit from $400 to $800. This credit has not been increased in 15 years while college costs have steadily increased and doubling the allowable deduction from $10,000 to $20,000. It also permits recent graduates to deduct 100 percent of the interest on their student loans for residents maintaining full compliance with the terms of their loan repayment plan.

To help create jobs and grow our economy, the Senate will advance a $200 million small business package. Among other things, the Senate’s plan would increase the business income tax exemption from five to 10 percent for all businesses and farms that file under the personal income tax, have no more than $500,000 in business income, and at least one employee. This proposal would save small businesses and farms more than $125 million annually and positively impact more than 500,000 New York businesses. Additionally, this overall proposal would expand the Executive’s small corporation rate reduction to save 42,500 businesses a total of $40 million annually.

The Senate would completely eliminate the job-killing 18-a energy tax surcharge this year instead of in two years, saving homeowners and businesses $285 million over two years. Rather than create winners and losers by forcing five upstate regions to compete for a limited pool of economic dollars, the Senate’s plan will help every region of the state that needs it. The budget includes funding for critical New York State infrastructure and revitalization needs. It includes $1.5 billion for upstate revitalization projects, and a one-to-one water quality infrastructure matching program for communities to leverage $1 billion from the state’s Clean and Drinking Water Revolving Loan funds. Additionally, the Senate provides funding for rural broadband.

The Senate proposes $1.5 billion for highway and bridge capital projects as part of a new five-year road and bridge capital program, doubling the Executive’s proposal.

Furthermore, the Senate budget calls for $700 million for regionally significant economic development projects statewide to help create jobs, $25 million for Upstate transit capital projects and $50 million for the Main Street Revitalization program to assist local governments in cleaning up blighted areas.

As a result of this year’s historically severe winter, the Senate budget also adds $50 million for the Consolidated Local Streets and Highway Program (CHIPS). Moreover, the Senate advances language to allow mixed martial arts (MMA) to be permitted in New York State.

The Senate budget puts in place a multi-part Grown in New York agriculture plan to help meet consumer demands for locally-grown food. It will also support local farmers in their efforts to provide quality, fresh food and strengthen rural communities.

The farm plan would help farmers expand their markets by providing monies to create five local transportation cooperatives. The cooperative would allow farmers to arrange to move their products to New York City and other major populated areas. It would also offer $250,000 in New York State Thruway Toll rebate aid to help lower the transportation cost of these goods.

Again, the plan would continue to fund vital agriculture research, marketing and education programs. It would further expand the young and new farmer initiatives, create a Grown in New York brand and provide financial incentives to encourage schools to utilize locally produced, healthy food choices.

The Senate’s budget plan makes major new investments in New York’s environment, including a substantial increase in funding for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). The EPF will be funded with $200 million to support critical environmental initiatives, clean air and water projects and open space preservation, and a new energy efficiency category will be created under the Senate’s plan. This reflects a $38 million increase over last year.

The Senate supports enhanced disclosure to ensure transparency and accountability in government. The disclosure will modify the governor’s ethics proposals, as well as the education reform initiatives advanced as part of the Executive budget.

Passage of the Senate’s one-house budget resolution will ensure that the state continues to make progress toward its fifth consecutive on-time budget.

Since Republicans regained the majority in the State Senate, lawmakers and the governor have produced low- or no-growth budgets that spend only what taxpayers can afford, while investing in education, road and bridge repair, and other initiatives that create new good-paying jobs. In addition, the Senate will advance a constitutional amendment capping state spending at 2 percent.

By voluntarily reducing spending, the state has erased a $10 billion deficit and created a surplus. New York is now on much stronger fiscal footing than it was just five years ago. The 2015-16 budget is due April 1.

Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 4:42 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Sen. Gallivan, budget.

Press release:

Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) was in Albany for today’s State of the State Address and budget presentation by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. This was the fifth State of the State message Senator Gallivan has received since taking office.

“This year the State of the State and the budget presentation were combined and together they serve as a starting point for the legislative session,” Gallivan said. ”Over the next couple of months, we will review the details of the governor’s proposal and take the necessary steps to meet the needs of New Yorkers and to control the size and cost of government.”

While Cuomo touched on a host of education reform issues, including overhauling the system for evaluating public school teachers, student testing and teacher tenure regulations, Gallivan said more discussion is needed on the details of those reforms. Cuomo also tied a proposed one billion increase in aid to education for the adoption of the various education reforms.

“When it comes to funding our public schools, we must make sure the distribution of resources is fair and equitable,” Gallivan said. ”I’m disappointed that the governor did not specifically mention the Gap Elimination Adjustment. Our schools have suffered enough and can no longer be forced to balance their budgets by cutting programs and services important to students. It’s time to eliminate the GEA once and for all.”

Sen. Gallivan is also calling Cuomo’s proposal to reduce local property taxes for people earning under $250,000 a year lacking. The proposal would save select homeowners an average of $950 a year.

“The plan doesn’t go far enough to reduce the tax burden on hard working property owners, and it appears upstate residents will save considerably less than those who live downstate.  That is not right,” Gallivan said. “We would do better to focus on reducing mandates, such as Medicaid, to truly help all property owners.”

Gallivan says he supports Cuomo’s call for fiscal discipline and is encouraged by his proposal to cut the tax rate on small businesses from 6.5 to 2.5 percent, the lowest rate in 100 years.  However, he believes efforts to reduce regulations and cut red tape are equally important.

“We have made some progress in reducing the enormous amount of regulations that businesses in New York face. We need to continue to relieve the burden on businesses in order to create jobs and opportunities for all,” Gallivan said.

Gallivan is anxious to learn more about Cuomo’s proposal for spending a one-time five billion surplus stemming from bank settlements negotiated with the state. The governor’s plan calls for 1.5 billion to be set aside for an upstate revitalization program and three billion to be used for infrastructure repair and improvements. That would include funding for the state Thruway Authority.  

“We need to make sure all New Yorkers are treated fairly and that the investments benefit the entire state. I don’t want New York City to benefit at the expense of Western New York. I am also concerned that this does not fix the structural financial problems facing the Thruway Authority,” Gallivan said.

During the State of the State Address, the governor also outlined a seven-point agenda dealing with the criminal justice system in New York. Gallivan agrees that building trust and respect for law enforcement is critical and many of the proposals mentioned by the governor will be examined in detail in a series of Senate hearings on police and public safety.

“As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Crime, Crime Victims and Corrections, I look forward to hearing from law enforcement, criminal justice experts and others to determine how we can better ensure both police and public safety across New York,” Gallivan said.

Legislators will continue to work on the budget over the next several months.  The new budget is due April 1.

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