MAYVILLE - When it comes to the difference between the 2013 and 2014 county budget, the numbers are split between departments which had increases or decreases in their budgets.
Since Monday, the Chau-tauqua County Legislature's human services, public safety, public facilities, administrative services and planning and economic development committees have heard from department heads and other representatives regarding budgets of various departments in their respective fields.
Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards unveiled his tentative $230.8 million budget to legislators Sept. 25.
His budget reflected a 2.58 percent tax rate increase, with taxpayers paying $9.39 per $1,000 of assessed value on their properties.
The tentative budget, which Edwards told legislators would maintain essential local services, meet mandated service requirements and fund IGT for the Chautauqua County Home the same amount as the 2013 budget, included a 3.42 percent or $2,127,337 increase in the tax levy. The hike was the result of a decrease of $860,000 in jail revenue, an increase of $300,000 to repair county roads and bridges, a $500,000 increase in funding for seniors and a net increase of $224,000 in other areas. The tax levy increase was offset by $2,979,000 more in state and federal aid than in 2013 and use of $3,222,000 from the county's fund balance.
Following three days of presentations and deliberations, the five committees decided on a total of five recommendations to the budget for the Audit and Control Committee to consider when it meets Oct. 7-9.
Monday, committees recommended removing all Intergovernmental Transfer Funding from the Chautauqua County Home, which Edwards had as $2,100,000 in his tentative budget. With the IGT funding intact, the budget had shown revenues for the County Home to be $19,484,593, and expenditures to be $20,032,911.
Edwards had also placed an additional $500,000 in the budget for the Office of the Aging. The Human Services Committee recommended bringing the amount down to $250,000 in additional revenue to the OFA. The 2013 amended budget for the OFA was $770,074. Edwards' tentative budget showed a total of $1,530,461 in local share.
The Human Services Committee also recommended adding two officers to probation. Kitty Crow, budget director, predicted each officer would cost between $55,000-$65,000, including benefits. The Probation Office budget for 2013 was $1,649,770. Edwards' tentative budget had increased to $1,670,599, without the addition of the officers.
On Tuesday, the Public Safety Committee had made the recommendation to add a .49 full-time-equivalent position for an investigator for the Public Defender's Office. The Public Defender's Office also saw an increase between its 2013 amended budget, which was $1,236,041, and Edwards' tentative budget, which was $1,295,406.
The Administrative Services Committee made one recommendation of its own Wednesday, however it did not tie a dollar amount to its recommendation.
Legislator Lori Cornell, D-Jamestown, recommended the Audit and Control Committee consider the feasibility for an expenditure for a marketing campaign for the County Clerk's Office to encourage the "Renew Locally" effort, as well as the potential revenues it could possibly produce. The 2013 amended budget for the County Clerk's Office was $188,567. The 2014 tentative budget had showed a decrease to $121,907 for local share.
Departments showing a budget increase in local share for 2014 included Unified Courts, the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office, Medical Examiners and Coroners, County Attorney's Office, Human Resources Department, Public Facilities, Public Health, Planning and Economic Development and the Veteran's Service Agency.
Departments which showed a budget decrease in local share for 2014 included the Chautauqua County Legislature and Legislative Clerk, District Attorney's Office, County Executive's Office, Emergency Services, Information Technology Services, Finance, Social Services, Youth Bureau, Mental Hygiene, and the Board of Elections.
The Audit and Control Committee will take into consideration recommendations from other committees and possibly recommend additional changes. County Charter requires a budget to be adopted by Nov. 10.