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1.2% decrease in property tax is proposed in Chautauqua County

Hi - I need a correction in my article on the Chautauqua County Budget.

The county exec. just called -

MAYVILLE – A 4.6 percent decrease in [property taxes in Chautauqua County was proposed by County Executive Vincent W. Horrigan at a meeting of the Legislature on Wednesday in the Gerace Office Building.

Horrigan said it would be the largest cut in property taxes in more than 30 years. He also announced expected job growth in Fredonia and Ripley for 2016.

The $256,292,867 budget is 4.6 percent less than the current spending plan and reflects a decrease of $1.8 million. The proposal would bring the county tax rate to $8.73 per $1,000 of assessed value, a savings of about 42 cents over the current rate.

“We are nearing the tipping point,” Horrigan said, adding that his goal is to bring the rate down to $8.44 in the future, a figure more in line with other county tax rates in Western New York.

If approved, the rate would provide a savings of $4.20 on a tax bill for a home valued at $100,000, reducing the bill to $87.30, from $91.50.

“This is a new era of lowering the pressure of taxes in Chautauqua County,” Horrigan said. “We will supercharge our growth strategy by attracting new businesses and home owners.”

He also said that a new food processor will be set up in the former Carriage House ConAgra building in Fredonia and that a $50 million dairy business will start in Ripley.

The county executive said that the spending in the budget includes 86 percent of mandated costs for services.

“This only leaves us 14 cents on every dollar to work with,” Horrigan said. This includes road maintenance, service to veterans and other services. He said that nearly the same level of mandated services will be maintained.

The rising costs of the criminal-justice system will be addressed by a new cooperative agreement for assigned counsel with Cattaraugus County, he said.

The Legislature approved an increase in the sales tax rate to 8 percent, from 7.5 percent. Final approval from New York State has not yet been received, Horrigan said, adding that the bill is on the governor’s desk and that he hopes for enactment by Dec. 1.

Cuts to the Women, Infants and Children Program, or WIC, and the Family Planning Clinic were listed in the budget. They will be transferred to a private service. Horrigan said that nursing staff will be added to the jail and that the Environmental Health Department will add inspectors for septic systems.

A full-time emergency medical services coordinator will also be added. Horrigan said that most staff additions were offset by retirements.

The budget proposal may be viewed on the county website.