Madison County: Tax rate, levy down

The Finance, Ways and Means Committee authorized administrative assistant and Budget Officer Russell Lura to file the tentative budget with the Clerk of the Madison County Board of Supervisors at its Nov. 2 meeting. Lura, who said he would not discuss the budget, did provide an overview of a couple of factors that affected development of the 2007 spending plan.

Lura said affecting the county on the revenue side were projected increased sales tax receipts with the opening of Lowes in the city of Oneida. He said the county also expects to save more than $1.3 million on Medicaid expenses this coming year.

Supervisor Richard Bargabos (Smithfield) expressed some concern that Lowes' contribution to sales tax revenue may come at the expense of other stores.

"It could cannibalize other stores," Bargabos said.

"It could be negative for the towns," Lura said, "but positive for the county. We don't know that yet."

On the expenditures side, Lura said several one-time large increases prevented the budget from being cut more than it was. The Public Safety Building roof will be replaced in 2007 and will run about $1.375 million. The county also will be purchasing a modular building for the Board of Elections, new voting machines and two generators. Those three items will cost about $416,000. He said despite those costs, the tax rate and levy are down some from 2006's numbers.

"The [tax rate and tax levy] numbers won't be released until Nov. 13," Lura said.

According to documents obtained by Eagle Newspapers, the tax levy will fall slightly -- about .2 percent -- for the second consecutive year after a 12.5 increase in 2005, dropping from $28,300,967 for the current year to $28,149,490 in 2007.

Increased assessment for 2006 allowed the tax rate to drop for this year, despite an increase in the tax levy. The levy fell by about .1 percent in 2006. Overall, Lura said the county will lower the tax rate by about 11.5 percent overall.

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