By JAIME STUDD
Recorder News Staff
JOHNSTOWN -- Fulton County Budget Director Alice Kuntzsch officially presented the Board of Supervisors with the county's 2013 tentative budget Tuesday afternoon.
The tentative budget carries an 8.2 percent average increase in the county's tax rate over that of last year, bringing the rate to an average of $12.52 per $1,000 assessed value.
The rate increase ranges from $0.51 to $1.31 per $1,000 in the county's individual municipalities.
The proposed budget includes appropriations in the amount of approximately $88.8 million, a 4.7 percent reduction over 2012.
The tentative budget also calls for a tax levy increase of 9.4 percent over that of last year, well beyond the approximately 2.52 percent increase allowed by the state mandated cap.
The Board of Supervisors have previously voted to override that cap should it become necessary.
In her annual budget message to the board, Kuntzsch attributed the need for the dramatic rate increases to an approximately 10.9 percent decrease in state aid for the coming year, as well as a 26.6 percent decrease in "revenues attributable to functions.
"The depth and span of the global recession has taken its toll on the local economy and recovery remains sluggish," Kuntzsch wrote in her message. "Stagnated revenue streams and increased expenses continue to stress county budgets."
Kuntzsch also noted that the local share of Medicaid and NYS Retirement System costs, both of which are mandated by the state, continue to spiral upwards and are expected to increase by $1.3 million and $2.2 million respectively.
According to Kuntzsch, those two mandates alone are responsible for 58.3 percent of the proposed 2013 tax levy.
Kuntzsch also noted that the so called "legacy impacts" will play a sizable role in the coming year's figures.
As a result of the board voting to apply the one-time revenue from the sale of the county's Residential Health Care Facility to the 2012 budget, the 2013 tentative budget currently includes a revenue shortfall of $3.5 million.
In addition, approximately $1.8 million in expenses associated with the operation of the RHCF over the first quarter of 2012 will be absorbed by the county's general fund.
The Board of Supervisors Budget Review Committee has already voted to apply $1.5 million in general fund balance to the 2013 tentative budget.
"Toward the end of the budget process, the Board of Supervisors will review fund balance again to determine the appropriate final amount to apply," Kuntzsch wrote.
A budget workshop session is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 19 at 1 p.m.
A public hearing on the 2013 tentative budget will be held on Monday, Nov. 26 at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.