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Proposed 2022 County Budget Aims to Reduce Debt

Monticello, NY – County Manager Joshua A. Potosek today presented a 2022 Tentative Sullivan County Budget to the Legislature that significantly reduces debt, expands existing services, avoids layoffs and strategically restores areas that faced cuts during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As proposed by my office, the 2022 Tentative Sullivan County Budget prioritizes what’s important to our residents: debt reduction, public transportation, infrastructure investment, and cost-effective government,” Potosek said. “At the same time, it does not burden taxpayers with excessive and unaffordable tax hikes, and it positions the County for a stable financial future.”

The $259,088,488 budget, as currently proposed, stays under the State-mandated property tax cap, with a house assessed at $100,000 seeing a projected average increase of $48 in its County tax bill.

Full details of the budget are available at www.sullivanny.us (click on “Sullivan County 2022 Tentative Budget Executive Summary” and “Sullivan County 2022 Tentative Budget Detail” under the “Helpful Links” tab in the lefthand margin).

Highlights include:

  • $12 million for road and bridgework throughout the County, to be achieved without going into debt by bonding
  • $9.2 million to pay off all short-term bonds, with an intent not to bond at all in 2022
  • $4 million to cover all County costs associated with the Care Center at Sunset Lake, now under management by consultant Infinite Care
  • $600,000 to continue and expand the Move Sullivan public transportation service
  • $370,000 to restore two Assistant District Attorney positions cut during the pandemic and to add two Administrative Assistants to the DA’s Office to handle increased work volumes
  • $300,000 for the Sullivan County Land Bank to demolish blighted buildings and restore funding cut during the pandemic
  • $96,000 for the Center for Workforce Development to hire a Youth Intern Coordinator and study ways to close gaps in local youth services and resources
  • $85,000 to create a Comprehensive Housing Strategy that will address every facet of housing in the County, particularly workforce housing and accommodations for the homeless
  • $30,000 to purchase organics containers for a Pilot Residential Composting Program, the first step toward a larger initiative to provide residential and commercial composting services

The Tentative Budget also makes provision for a significant reconfiguration of the Division of Planning, which will take on the Office of Sustainable Energy, the Office of Grants Administration, and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Beautification. This will free up an expanded team of planners to focus on developing important projects like affordable housing and tourism infrastructure, including the O&W Rail Trail.

The County Clerk’s Office will be given further tools to address service demand, particularly in the Department of Motor Vehicles, which will see an additional clerk position, a new service window, and an expanded mobile presence.

“Thanks to an unexpectedly robust economy, the 2022 Tentative Budget can add staff and services while eliminating short-term debt,” Potosek explained. “Nevertheless, we are keeping a close eye on fiscal responsibility, and a key goal over the next two years is to build up a fund balance that can sustain us when times again get rough.”

Legislators now have until December 20 to review, discuss and adopt the budget. They may make changes to the proposed version before it is adopted, and the public is welcome to watch their deliberations during special Management & Budget Committee meetings to be announced over the next month. Meetings will be livestreamed on the Legislature’s webpage.

Formal public hearings about the proposed 2022 County Budget will be set for December 7 at 5 p.m. and December 9 at 10:50 a.m. in the Hearing Room of the Government Center, 100 North Street, Monticello. Written comment is being accepted by Clerk of the Legislature AnnMarie Martin at annmarie.martin@sullivanny.us or 100 North Street, Monticello, NY 12701.