County budget meets state cap, offers some relief

HUDSON–The Columbia County Board of Supervisors adopted the 2018 County Budget at its December 13, 2017 meeting. The budget calls for spending $149.9 million, of which $42.5 million (28%) is expected to come from the tax levy. The 2018 tax levy will be $769,500 higher than for last year, an increase of 1.84%.

Comparing 2018 with 2017, the sewer district’s appropriation increase, from $669,000 to $4.2 million, stands out. The reason relates to principal and interest on debt service serial bonds. The total sewer district appropriation remains less than 3% of the total budget.

In a letter to the public following passage of the budget and dated December 14, Matt Murell (R-Stockport), chairman of the Board of Supervisors, wrote, “This budget has been composed with no cuts in services for residents, no reduction in programs, and no county work force reduction while, importantly, the county remains attuned to the needs of those who may face adverse personal situations…. This budget enables the county to continue its commitment to Columbia-Greene Community College, as well as …[purchasing] a new emergency services training center for our volunteer firemen and emergency service workers.”

Mr. Murell also said the county has “developed a comprehensive plan to address the opioid epidemic” and has increased school security and enhanced the sheriff’s drug enforcement and education capabilities.

He said that while 2018 tax levy was up slightly, “the overall effect on the average homeowner in their tax bill will amount to a decrease of 3.8%. He attributed that to taxable property values in the county having risen “more than $83 million.” He also cited an improvement in the county’s bond rating, which lowers the rate of interest the county pays when it borrows.

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