GENESEO – Following a public hearing on Wednesday, members of the Livingston County Board of Supervisors adopted the 2022 budget of $168.4 million that reduces both the tax rate and tax levy.
“I feel like it is a good budget, it is a practical budget, responsible budget. It is balanced, does not rely on one-time revenues and we still have the stimulus, as far as how we are going to spend the stimulus money,” said Coyle.
Coyle, who also serves as the county’s budget officer, had proposed a total budget $168,430,466, an increase of $3,988,568, or 2.4%, from the current spending plan of $164,441,898.
The budget includes a tax rate of $7.77, down 22 cents. or 2.66%. from the 2021 rate of $7.99 per $1,000 of assessed value.
The tax levy, or total amount of taxes collected from properties in the county, will decrease 1.83% or $550,000, to $29,448,963. The county’s calculated tax cap figure was about 2%, which is the amount by which the county could have raised its levy. The current levy is $29,999,065.
“This budget as presented is a realistic budget as presented and when the dust settled on it, it produced a situation (bottom line) that caused us to look at lowering the levy and the rate, which we did,” said Coyle.
The total assessed value for properties in Livingston County is $3,788,256,635 for 2022, an increase of $31,973,629 compared to 2021. The current total assessed value of property in Livingston County is $3,756,283,006.
The county has applied $7,750,083 in appropriated fund balances to the 2022 proposed budget. For its 2021 spending plan, the county budgeted the use of $6,503,834 in fund balances.
Coyle said increased sales tax – the result of both inflation rising prices and increased consumer demand – “was the main contributing factor to being able to lower the rate and levy.”
Sales tax revenue has increased significantly, Coyle said, up 17% or $4.5 million, from the previous year.
“People don’t like to pay property taxes period and they expect it to be lowered every year,” said Coyle.
During the past 12 months, the federal government has provided counties with needed stimulus funding and cost-relief reimbursements through the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan Act legislation, Coyle said.
At $12.2 million over several budget cycles, the funding has been transformational for Livingston County, said Coyle.
The relief funding is not included in the 2022 budget in terms of recurring revenue or offsets to recurring expenses. County officials have indicated that funding decisions will need to soon take place regarding ARPA usage.
The 2022 budget does include numerous temporary grants from the state and federal governments, including many funds flowing through the Health Department for COVID-related programming endeavors, according to Coyle’s budget message.
Looking forward, Coyle said, the County will continue pursuing the implementation of its strategic plan. Livingston County is in possession of more than $10 million in federal USDA ReConnect funds to be used toward the Light Up Livingston broadband expansion initiative. Several solar projects are underway throughout the County in varying states of completion. Many of these have a payment-in-lieu-of-tax (PILOT) component that will add to the coffers of participating local governments where the project is located. The county’s five-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) includes provisions for a number of infrastructure-related projects, including water, sewer, roads, bridges, and broadband.
At the public hearing and adoption of the budget no members of the public spoke up and none of the Town Supervisors spoke up, except for Caledonia Town Supervisor Daniel Pangrazio who said: “It is a great budget and one that everyone in this room should be proud of, nice job Ian and thank you.”