County spends more but tax rate stays put

HUDSON–The Columbia County Board of Supervisors adopted the 2019 county budget last month, with spending set at $156.6 million.

Twenty-eight percent of the total budget ($43.3 million) is expected to come from the county property tax levy. The 2019 tax levy will be $748,000 more than last year’s, an increase of 1.76% but the property tax rate will remain $6 per thousand dollars of assessed value, according to county Controller Ron Caponera.

The county can achieve the goal of $43.3 million in tax revenues without raising the property tax rate, Mr. Caponera said in a phone conversation December 21, because property values have risen. In addition, he pointed out that the 1.76% levy increase is well within the state 2% property tax cap.

Table 1 shows the budget by appropriation category. Table 2 compares the 2019 appropriations with those for 2018. Table 3 shows the total tax levy for 2016 through 2019.

In comparing 2019 with 2018, the largest appropriations increase is 36% for capital projects, which Mr. Caponera said is the result of upgrading of the emergency 911 system. But the $4.5 million for this upgrade is “100% federal and state funded” and has “no effect on the tax levy,” he said.

The second largest appropriation by percentage is 15% for machinery, which Mr. Caponera attributed to the price of road salt and sand “going up significantly.” The Machinery category makes up only 2.2% of total appropriations.

In a statement to the public dated December 13, 2018, Matt Murell (R-Stockport), chairman of the Board of Supervisors, thanked the board committees and chairs, praising officials for their “commitment to fiscal responsibility.”

The chairman said that no county services have been cut and “no reduction in work force has been planned. The 2019 budget contains all the salary increases required under the four collective bargaining agreements, as well as equivalent raises for non-union employees and officers.”

Mr. Murell also highlighted :

• $2 million for Columbia-Greene Community College

• The continuation of the shared services initiative

• Development of the new emergency services training center with a $1 million state grant through the office of former state Senator Kathleen Marchione (R-43rd)

• Continuing the partnership with Greene County for the counties’ “comprehensive plan to address the opioid epidemic”

Sheriff’s Office resource officers in all county school districts.

The full budget and statement are online at

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