The Putnam County Legislature unanimously approved County Executive MaryEllen Odell’s proposed 2019 tentative budget of $159.7 million last Tuesday.
The budget, which is tax cap compliant, contains a budget-to-budget increase of $4.4 million, or 2.9 percent, over the current year. Under the approved budget, Putnam would see the tax rate decrease by .02 percent, and a 2.47 percent tax levy increase, which meets the tax cap for the county.
Homeowners assessed at $277,000 will also see an increase of $24 in 2019.
Under the adopted budget, spending on employee and retiree health insurance will rise $976,000, and contractual obligations will increase $1.5 million. There will be a $629,000 decrease in state pension expense due to the amortization borrowing pay off. State mandated preschool education programming will see a $350,000 increase, which will serve 347 children and cost taxpayers $7.9 million.
Debt services will also see an increase of $267,000.
During Odell’s Oct. 3 budget presentation, she proposed taking $3.2 million from the current years fund balance to pay off some of next year’s operating costs, bringing the projected 2019 fund balance to $14.6 million.
Next year’s proposed budget includes $109.5 million in mandated costs, but Odell noted the county is still waiting for mandate relief that is supposed to accompany the tax cap.
Some of the operating expenses proposed in Odell’s 2019 budget include, $7.3 million for the sheriff’s road patrol, $15.7 million for general government support, $6.8 million for the Office of Senior Resources, $4.7 million for parks and recreation, and $5.4 million for emergency services.
The county’s portion of the total property tax bill in Putnam is 9 percent.