A proposed $145 million budget for Cattaraugus County released Wednesday would raise taxes in most parts of the county and shut down the Social Services office at 200 Erie St.
Faced with increased operating expenses, the uncertainty of state revenues and increasing Medicaid costs, Budget Director Donald E. Furman included new measures to produce a budget of $145 million, up from $140 million this year.
A new tax levy is projected at $29.3 million, up from $27.5 million -- an increase of 6.9 percent. This compares to the 2.7 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index, which legislators like to see used as a cap to any budget increase.
The full-value tax rate is increased by 3.8 percent, from $10.78 to $11.18.
Several factors affect the tax rates, including equalization rates, growth in taxable property bases and revaluation of properties.
As a result, Great Valley could have a 12.49 tax increase and Little Valley could rise by 14.54 percent.
Other towns such as New Albion would decrease by 93.45 percent to a new tax rate of $11.19 per $1,000 of assessment.
Departments requested eight new positions, which Furman denied.
And 26 positions are recommended to be abolished next year. Up to $461,246 would be saved, Furman said. Included are 11 in the Public Works Department, including seven seasonal workers, all positions now vacant; and seven in the Social Services Department, which are all currently filled.
Social Services Commissioner Wendy Bourgeois was directed to find additional savings in her department's budget for 2002.
"We looked at all the options," Bourgeois said, "and closing the Little Valley office will save around $100,000, but we will lose some jobs."
Bourgeois said, "People will have to drive further for services, but to realize a similar savings, I would have had to dig deeper into my staff."
After the closing, all services of the department will be provided from the Olean office. Some staff will be able to transfer to Olean, and others will be terminated, Bourgeois said.
Paula Mohr, president of the Supervisory Unit of the civil service employees union, said: "We are not real happy to hear they will abolish 27 positions. We hate to see any employee lose their jobs. We wish it weren't happening, and we will have to negotiate the impact."
The Social Services Department has about 200 employees and projects a budget of $36.7 million next year. Of that, $16.6 million will come directly from the county's tax collections and $12 million will fund the county's local share of Medicaid costs.
Legislators will begin to review the budget at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when the Public Safety Committee meets.
A public hearing on the budget will be held at 3 p.m. Nov. 20, followed by a vote by lawmakers to adopt the new budget.