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Press Release

Publish Date: 9/5/2019

Ossenfort Issues 2020 Executive Budget to Legislature

Proposed Spending Plan Stays Under Tax Cap, while Maintaining Critical Services

FONDA - County Executive Matthew L. Ossenfort submitted his 2020 Executive Budget to the County Legislature today and is proposing $119.1 million spending plan, which stays under the tax cap. Included in the Executive Budget is a proposed property tax levy increase of 4.97% which is .32% under the state imposed tax cap of 5.29%. General fund balance usage for 2020 is down $800,000 from the previous year, at $2.9 million.

Ossenfort noted that the primary factor that caused a larger than normal tax cap which is usually around 2%, is the expiration of the Target Payment in Lieu of Taxes Agreement [PILOT]. This resulted in the loss of $788,000 in the PILOT revenue line.  To compensate for this variable, the state includes a growth factor calculation that ultimately brought the tax cap figure to 5.29%.  However, taxpayers in seven of the eleven municipalities in Montgomery County will see a tax decrease. 

“Municipalities that saw a negative change in their equalization rate will not realize a tax rate decrease,” Ossenfort said. “Montgomery County has no control over what the equalization rates will be for each municipality.  Equalization rates are the sole responsibility of the municipality,” he continued.

With the expiration of the Target PILOT the property now becomes fully assessed as part of the tax roll. This results in Target paying a significant tax bill towards the overall tax levy of the County, thus reducing the burden on the rest of the Montgomery County property owners.

“One of the Legislature’s main priorities is always working to create a budget that remains under the tax cap, maintains the existing level of services being provided to the citizens of Montgomery County, while also minimizing the use of fund balance,” Budget and Finance Committee Chairman and District 7 Legislator Michael J. Pepe said. “From what the Executive has provided us to date, it appears we’re headed in the right direction and I look forward to the ongoing discussions regarding the 2020 budget.” 

 “The beginning stages of the budget process have included collaboration between the Executive, County Legislators and Department Heads,” Chairman and District 4 Legislator Robert Headwell Jr. said. “I’m optimistic that together we will be able to provide a spending plan that everyone can be satisfied with.”

Sales tax figures are estimated at $30.5 million for 2020, an increase of $1.7 million compared to the 2019 budget.  Montgomery County is also anticipating revenue due to the collection of internet sales tax, which is now required for out of state merchants to collect and remit to New York State. While the County Treasurer is expecting an increase in sales tax, the County is unable to anticipate how much revenue internet sales tax will generate and thus is taking a conservative approach.

“With a few exceptions, increases in the Executive Budget are largely driven by mandated services and contractual increases.  I feel we have truly struck a balance between remaining fiscally responsible, while also maintaining critical programs for veterans, seniors, roadways and many other public safety resources,” Ossenfort concluded.   

Per the Montgomery County Charter, the Executive Budget must be filed with the Clerk of the County Legislature by Sept. 5. The County Executive and County Treasurer will meet with the Budget and Finance Committee on Sept. 10 in the Legislative Chambers, to review the proposed budget.