LITTLE VALLEY — Cattaraugus County Legislature committees begin review of the tentative $230.2 million county budget for 2018 on Monday.

It is a $1.5 million increase from the 2017 county budget of $228.7 million, and the tax levy, or amount to be raised by property taxes, increases 1.3 percent from $54.5 million to $55.3 million.

The budget contains no new positions and no layoffs.

A combination of growth in the county’s full value assessment by $125 million to $4.37 billion and the use of $3.2 million from the fund balance or surplus resulted in a 20-cent decrease in the full value tax rate to $12.65 per $1,000. It is the fourth year in a row that the county’s full value tax rate has gone down.

If the tax levy remains unchanged, city of Olean taxpayers will see a 1.73 percent in the tax rate from the current $13.97 per $1,000 full value to $14.21 per $1,000.

In the city of Salamanca, the tax rate will go up 3.8 percent from $67.93 per $1,000 to $70.57.  

Taxpayers in 10 towns where this year’s equalization rate is 100 or otherwise unchanged from last year — Coldspring, Dayton, East Otto, Farmersville, Freedom, Hinsdale, Ischua, Mansfield, Otto and Red House — will see their tax rates go down 1.58 percent, from $12.85 per $1,000 on full value to $12.65.

Three other towns — Carrollton, Ellicottville and Olean — will also see lower tax rates, but less than 1 percent.  

The equalization rate is determined by the state based on home sales and values in each municipality. If full value assessments are maintained by the municipality, the equalization rate will remain at 100.

The remaining 19 towns will see tax increases ranging from 6.49 percent in Machias to 0.04 percent in Leon.

Every 1 percent on the tax levy raises $553,192 in property taxes.

The 1.3 percent increase in the tax levy is under the state’s 2 percent tax cap, which this year increased to 1.84 percent, up from 0.68 percent last year.

In another closely-watched revenue proposal, the combined sales tax was increased by $446,000 to $25.1 million.

The county’s Public Works Department is on track for another ambitious year of road construction, bridge and culvert replacement and other buildings and grounds capital projects. There will be more than $20 million in capital spending in 2018 if the budget is approved.

The first legislative committees to review the tentative county budget Monday will be Labor Relations and Human Services, beginning at 12:30 p.m. in the large committee room on the third floor of the County Center.

In his county budget presentation Wednesday, County Administrator Jack Searles said provisions for a settlement of contracts with the seven county unions expiring this year are included, although he did not specify how much.

On Tuesday, three committees will continue their budget review with Searles, Development and Agriculture, County Operations/Public Safety. Those committee meetings begin at 12:30 p.m.

The Finance Committee will conduct its review and vote on any proposed changes by other committees.

A public hearing on the tentative budget is scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21 in the legislative chamber on the third floor of the County Center.

County lawmakers will vote on the 2018 budget following the public hearing.

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at rmiller@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)

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