LITTLE VALLEY — Cattaraugus County lawmakers are halfway through their review of the tentative $262.6 million county budget for 2022 without having made any cuts.

On Monday the Human Services and Labor Relations committees conducted their budget review with County Administrator Jack Searles, who serves as budget officer.

Legislator Kelly Andreano, R-Olean, chairman of the Human Services Committee, said after a thorough review, the committee did not recommend any changes.

While not in her committee’s review, Andreano said she was pleased with the $85,000 set aside for the Cattaraugus County/Olean Airport for capital improvements.

The budget is a $14 million increase in spending over the current budget of $248.5 million.

The tax levy, or amount to be raised by property taxes, is $54,035,000. That is $500,000 lower than the levy in the 2021 county budget.

The full value tax rate in the $262.6 million budget is $11.40 per $1,000, a 40-cent decrease.

The 2022 tax rate in the city of Olean would drop 2.3% to $12.76 per $1,000.

The town of Olean would go down 3.4% to $16.57 per $1,000, Allegany would go down 3.4% to $11.68 per $1,000, the town of Portville would go down 3.38% to $12.91 per $1,000 and in Hinsdale the tax rate would go down 3.43% to $13.06 per $1,000.

Included in the tentative budget is a $27 million capital program which has a total of $18.2 million in spending for roads, bridges and culverts. The highway program totals $10.5 million, $5.1 million for bridges and $2.7 million for culverts.

One of the things helping to keep the tax levy low is sales taxes. The county is boosting its 2022 sales tax revenue estimates by $5 million — $3 million from the general sales tax, which is projected to be $19.7 million, and $2 million from the additional 1% sales tax, which should bring in $12.5 million.

Driving much of that increase are vehicle sales and internet sales, Searles told members of the county legislature’s leadership.

The town and village share of sales taxes for 2022 are projected to be up $2 million to $12.5 million, plus an additional $1.2 million many towns will use to reduce the county tax levy in their towns.

The budget also taps the county surplus for $8.5 million for several uses to reduce the tax levy, including: $2.5 million to reduce the tax levy, $49,000 for a reforestation reserve, $280,000 for an equipment reserve, $2.2 million for the Olean Pines nursing home and $3.2 million for then Machias Pines, as well as $139,000 for a debt service fund.

Three more committees are scheduled to review budgets of the departments they oversee, the Development and Agriculture, Public Works and County Operations/Public Safety committees beginning at 3 p.m. Monday.

The Finance Committee will conduct its review Thursday at 6 p.m. The committee also must approve or disapprove any changes proposed by other committees.

A public hearing on the budget will begin at 5 p.m. Nov. 23, followed by adoption of the budget.

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

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