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November 18, 2020 - 6:11pm

Ways & Means Committee forwards amended county budget with $9.80 tax rate

Some late changes to the 2021 Genesee County budget require using a bit more of the municipality’s fund balance, but they won’t affect the property tax levy or tax rate, County Manager Matt Landers said this afternoon.

The county legislature’s Ways & Means Committee forwarded resolutions to both amend and adopt the $143,204,679 All Funds spending plan and to finalize the tax levy at its next full meeting on Nov. 23.

Per the resolution, the budget as presented and amended calls for $31,451,727 to be raised by property taxes – an increase of $400,069 from 2020 – and a tax rate of $9.80 per thousand of assessed value.

Landers said that $2,407,767 is being appropriated from the fund balance to help get the tax rate to that figure, which is 31 cents less than the 2020 tax rate. The fund balance amount is $607,732 more than what was allocated in 2020.

The county’s General Fund budget figure is at $110,276,137.

Landers mentioned the major changes to the budget, which were implemented after a final review by management and departmental leaders.

“Most of the budget changes are due to a recent contract settlement with our AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL–CIO) union, which represents the highway and facilities management employees,” he said. “My proposed budget had the costs sitting in the contingency account, but since we settled the contract we are going to move the funds into the appropriate departmental lines.”

Landers said that some costs in the mental health budget were under-budgeted as officials attempted to gauge the decrease in reimbursements from New York State. Additionally, changes were made on both the revenue and expense side in the public defender’s office in light of the county’s five-year plan.

“We are utilizing additional fund balance in the 2021 budget to cover this. The changes don’t impact the tax levy or the tax rate at all,” he reported.

Ways & Means Committee Chair Marianne Clattenburg thanked Landers and his team for conducting “a very smooth budget process considering the times that we’re in.”

“I appreciate the give-and-take from everyone and I think we did a good job with this budget,” she said.

The committee also set a public hearing for 5:30 p.m. Dec. 9 on a local law to approve the salaries of county officers who are elected or appointed for a fix term in accordance with a section of the Municipal Home Rule Law.

The salaries of these officers, which will take effect Jan. 1, are as follows:

  • Commissioner of Elections (2) -- $49,761;
  • Highway Superintendent -- $115,110;
  • Director of Real Property Tax Services -- $66,385;
  • Director of Human Resources -- $80,050;
  • Commissioner of Social Services -- $89,319;
  • Public Defender -- $103,453;
  • County Attorney -- $127,845;
  • County Clerk -- $97,862.

In another development, the committee reappointed Richard Siebert of Stafford as Genesee County Republican Election Commissioner for a three-year term, effective Jan. 1.

Legislators commended Siebert, Democratic Election Commissioner Lorie Longhany and all those who worked during the recent election for a job well done as they dealt with several changes to the system while adhering to COVID-19 guidelines.

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