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Broome County Tax Rate Increase Lowered

Broome County's tax rate will not go up as much as originally proposed next year.
Broome County's tax rate will not go up as much as originally proposed next year.

Last night, the Broome County Legislature passed its 2014 budget. It calls for a 1.7 percent tax increase, which is about 1.2 percent less than County Executive Debbie Preston's proposal. That equates to an $800,000 difference. Much of that money was made up through adjustments and transfers between departments. Also, most proposed salary increases, including to members of the Executive's Office, will not be given.

"There are five department heads that are getting raises. The reason why we adjusted their salaries is because we did a snapshot comparable of their position with other counties. We were at the lowest end. In order for us to keep specialized people in those positions and keep them with Broome County, we had to make an adjustment," said chairman Jerry Marinich.

Proposed cuts to contract agencies, including Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Broome County Arts Council, will also be reduced. Dan Reynolds is the Democratic Minority Leader.

"The County Executive's budget had an 18 percent cut. We got it down to 6 percent cut through our work in finance committee, which I think is very good. Still, I thought we could find another $59,000 to just keep them level instead of cutting them," said Reynolds.

Reynolds proposal of not cutting the agencies at all was voted down. Chairman of the Legislature, Jerry Marinich, says he doesn't expect the County Executive to issue vetoes, because her office worked closely with the leg during budget discussions.
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