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Niagara County: 2019 tentative budget sets lowest tax rate

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Thu, Nov 15th 2018 03:30 pm
Submitted by the Niagara County Manager's Office
Niagara County's taxpayers can expect their property tax rates to be cut to a historic low next year, if the budget blueprint prepared by Niagara County Manager Rick Updegrove and Budget Director Dan Huntington is approved by county lawmakers next month.
The tentative 2019 budget sets a full-value property tax rate of $7.03 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Available records indicate $7.03 is the lowest rate going back at least 35 years.
The tentative budget will be filed with the county legislature today. County lawmakers will then hold their review sessions to assess the proposed budget. They won't vote on the budget until next month.
The initial reaction from the legislature's leadership is positive.
"The direction given to our administration was to prepare a budget within the tax cap," said Majority Leader Randy Bradt, R-North Tonawanda. "The tentative budget is fiscally conservative, exceeds our target, and lowers county taxes."
Chairman Keith McNall, R-Lockport, said, "The budget is the product of the responsible decisions we have made throughout the year. This is a sound budget that recognizes the sacrifice of the property taxpayers while continuing to provide vital county services. I am encouraged by the tentative budget."
Legislator Rich Andres, R-North Tonawanda, said, "Although this is a responsible budget that lowers taxes, a review of the budget confirms the continued burden of unfunded state mandates, which consume every single property tax dollar."
The property tax levy in the 2019 budget will be $81.9 million for the general funds, and $9 million for special districts.
Updegrove and Huntington also released the county budget message today. Some of the items noted include unfunded state mandates, increased sales tax revenue, and increased contractual expenditures.
The county has, for the eighth consecutive year, developed a budget under the New York state tax cap limit. The tentative budget is approximately $400,000 below the allowable limit.

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