Share this article

print logo

BUDGET WITH RATE HIKE OF 9.5% NEARS APPROVAL

Genesee County's 2005 budget of $110.7 million is apparently headed for approval after a sparsely attended hourlong public hearing Tuesday in the Senior Center.

Only two speakers -- former Legislator John L. Sackett Jr. and Leo Starowitz -- urged cuts to reduce the 9.5 percent increase per $1,000 in assessed valuation in the property tax rate.

Public hearings will be held Monday -- the same night the budget is to be adopted -- on a quarter-percent increase in the mortgage tax, worth $350,000, and a 30-cent monthly surcharge on cell phones that could raise $25,000 in the next year.

Neither has stirred any opposition, and both are expected to be enacted. Less certain is a 2 percent salary hike for 110 management employees whose gross cost could be $200,000.

Some legislators have objected to a pay raise when the county's new budget would eliminate sixteen jobs, some layoffs and some positions now or soon to be vacant.

The 2005 budget is $2.7 million more than the current spending plan, due largely, Gsell said, to state mandates, particularly Medicaid. The property tax rate in the proposed budget will be $10.92 per $1,000 assessed valuation.