By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO November 21, 2003 Yesterday afternoon, the Sullivan County Legislature passed its 2004 budget.
The $174,486,187 budget was amended and passed 7-1-1 (District 9 Legislator Jim Carnell Jr. was against it, and District 7 Legislator Leni Binder was absent).
First and foremost, there will be no layoffs. But there will be a five percent real property tax increase. It was also announced that the funding to contracted agencies was restored to 2003 levels (in the original proposed 2004 budget, they were all cut by ten percent).
Many of the modifications were discussed at a special Financial Management Committee meeting before the monthly meeting. Many of the changes had to do with fixing technical errors in the proposed budget.
One major addition was the creation of a Public Defenders Office. This will save the county money in the future when a person who cannot afford representation needs some, according to county officials.
To do this, a local law must be passed to establish the office. A public hearing on it will be held on Thursday, December 18 at 1:50 p.m. at the Government Center in Monticello.
At the December 2 Financial Management Committee meeting, several resolutions will be introduced to create about $900,000 in new revenue to the county. Some of those resolutions will be a quarter-percent increase in the mortgage tax, a resolution to join Off-Track Betting at Monticello Raceway, and a surcharge on wireless phone usage. The latter two need State Legislature approval.
To pass the budget, two resolutions were needed. The first was to pass the budget. The second was to pass it with all the amendments. That was the resolution Carnell was opposed to.