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Chautauqua County Executive Mark W. Thomas says next year's county budget will be "severely strained by the state's continuing off-loading its costs onto the backs of local property taxpayers."

"While I will maintain my commitment of not increasing the tax levy borne by Chautauqua County's homeowners, businesses and families, it becomes increasingly difficult to provide sustainable tax relief when, each year, the state hands local property taxpayers a bigger bill to pay," Thomas said Sunday. He must submit his proposed budget for next year to the County Legislature by Saturday.

State funding cuts and increased costs totaling more than $1.9 million include:

$308,000 less in reimbursement for the county's Medicaid cost-containment efforts.

$180,000 less in Medicaid Managed Care Reimbursement funds.

$360,000 more in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program costs.

$421,000 more in food stamp administrative costs.

$265,000 less in reimbursement for housing felons in the county jail.

$77,000 less in motor vehicle license and registration revenues.

$361,000 less in funding for shared-staffing of mental health personnel.

The county also will lose revenue from the reduction in state probation reimbursement and new sales tax exemptions, not including the clothing sales tax exemption.

The total loss is expected to exceed $2 million. Thomas said those funds could have been used to reduce the county's accumulated $9.4 million operating debt by another 20 percent this year or to fund 15 percent of the projected $13.1 million in infrastructure development needed to attract new business investment and create jobs.

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