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Legislature Adopts Reduced County Budget

Monticello, NY – Weighing in at nearly $43,000 less than originally proposed, the 2019 Sullivan County Budget was unanimously adopted today by the Legislature.

“Our Division of Management and Budget, which has worked for months to develop a responsible and efficient budget, was able to lower the appropriations for 2019 by $42,947, bringing the total appropriations in the 2019 Budget to $235,286,181,” said County Manager Josh Potosek. “The reduction was the result of a savings in our health insurance rates.”

The Budget also is coming with a reduction in taxes, as the County tax rate is anticipated to fall by 1.61% (approximately $19 per $100,000 of assessed value), largely due to a significant increase in the overall assessed value of properties Countywide.

The Solid Waste Access Fee, charged on every County tax bill to pay for debt on the now-closed Landfill, will also decline. Commercial payers will see their rate drop from $300 to $200 a year, while residential payers will have their $120 rate fall to $80 a year.

“This is the first County budget in several years that promises to lower taxes – without cutting services, programs or personnel,” noted District 1 Legislator Scott Samuelson, chair of the Legislature’s Management & Budget Committee.

“This is a conscientious budget, taking into account the needs of both our staff and our taxpayers,” remarked Legislature Chairman Luis Alvarez. “I thank everyone who worked toward that goal.”

“This is a forward-looking budget, built upon the blessings of an improved economy rather than on the backs of taxpayers,” added Legislature Vice Chair Nadia Rajsz.

“With many of our planning initiatives now bearing fruit, and more in the works, this budget smartly positions the County to welcome and manage further growth,” said District 9 Legislator Alan Sorensen, the Legislature’s Majority Leader.

“I’m very pleased to say this was a diligent, bipartisan effort that will result in some relief for our taxpayers,” explained District 8 Legislator Ira Steingart, the Legislature’s Minority Leader.

“The budget reflects that Sullivan County is leading the State in economic and employment growth, allowing County government to take proactive approaches to longstanding challenges,” stated District 4 Legislator Catherine Owens. “I’m especially pleased to deliver a tax decrease to taxpayers.”

“I’m glad to see it pass with unanimous support,” agreed District 3 Legislator Mark McCarthy. “I thank my colleagues and our staff for all their efforts.”

“We continue to dedicate funds towards roads, bridges and buildings, taking advantage of better economic times to begin gaining ground on deteriorating infrastructure,” noted District 7 Legislator Joe Perrello.

“I think the good news in this budget reflects the good news Countywide,” acknowledged District 5 Legislator Terri Ward. “Our economy is humming – and just as importantly, it is not dependent on any one entity or industry. Taxpayers can and should benefit from that.”

Highlights of the Adopted 2019 Sullivan County Budget include:

  • $8.8 million for road and bridgework throughout the County, in addition to an already-approved $10 million bond that’s replacing four aging bridges
  • $200,000 for local towns and villages to demolish unsafe structures via our RUSt Program
  • $200,000 to undertake an environmental analysis of potential shovel-ready sites along Old Route 17 in the towns of Liberty and Thompson
  • $200,000 for a broadband pilot project that will bring high-speed Internet access to underserved areas of the Village of Monticello and Town of Thompson – if successful, this venture can be replicated Countywide, utilizing existing County communications towers
  • $150,000 for new Public Transportation routes, set to debut this April
  • An additional $100,000 to maintain the Sullivan County Land Bank’s incredibly successful pace in acquiring and rehabbing/demolishing eyesore structures
  • $50,000 additional for the Legislature’s Discretionary Funds Program, expanding the County’s assistance to deserving nonprofits and community groups
  • $40,000 to update historical signage Countywide
  • Adding a clerk in the Department of Motor Vehicles Office to reduce wait times
  • $15,000 more for the Sullivan County Youth Bureau to expand its reach and assistance to youth programs Countywide
  • Funding to increase the minimum wage for all County employees to $15 an hour, beyond the State mandate, in order to attract and retain qualified personnel in a competitive market

The budget also provides the necessary funds to operate two jails for 6-9 months while personnel, inmates and equipment are gradually transferred from the old jail to the new facility.

Full details of the budget are available at (click on “County Manager’s Office” in the dropdown “Find a Department” menu, then click on “Budget” in the left margin).