BATAVIA – Genesee County will spend more and property owners will pay more – both modest increases – in a $149 million budget for the next year that has been overwhelmingly approved by the County Legislature.
Expenditures are up $4.1 million or nearly 3 percent while real estate taxes will rise to $10.04 per $1,000 assessed value. The rate is up 15 cents from last year’s $9.89.
It is the first hike in that levy in four years.
Despite rising unfunded state mandates, all services will continue.
The general fund from the property taxes will rise in 2014 to $104.6 million or 3.5 percent. A major offset is a projected increase in sales and use tax receipts of $14.5 million or $1.2 million more than this year’s.
Added spending is made possible because $2.5 million is being taken from this year’s surplus.
The budget for the county jail is up $4 million because the state wants higher staffing levels to meet inmates’ basic needs.
Legislator Marianne Clattenberg was the sole dissenter as the budget was approved in an 8-1 vote. She wanted a lower property tax. However, it had already been cut from $10.11 in the original plan.
The budget is about $265,000 under the state-imposed 2 percent limit on increasing property tax collections. The Legislature last month approved a local law permitting it to exceed the limit if necessary.
The budget adoption is a month-long process that includes a warning to department heads to hold the line on spending. That enabled the Legislature to keep the property tax rate below $10 for several years but lawmakers noted that goal is no longer feasible with unfunded state mandates, largely Medicaid, whose $10 million consumes about one-third of the money raised by local taxes.