BALLSTON SPA — Budget season is underway at the Saratoga County complex in Ballston Spa, with supervisors in discussion regarding a proposed $378.3 million spending plan for 2023.
This year’s annual county budget – at $381.6 million – represented a near $11 million increase over 2021. Hitting the target proposal in 2023 would represent a $3.29 million decrease compared to 2022.
Additionally, the tentative plan would, for the for the first time in six years, not use county fund balance reserves, and reduce the county’s Property Tax Rate by 5%, keeping it under the tax cap, says Saratoga County Board of Supervisors Chairman Theodore Kusnierz, Jr.
“With uncertain financial times ahead, homeowners will receive much needed relief with a 5% property tax reduction through a balanced budget that doesn’t borrow from the county’s fund balance,” Kusnierz said. “Importantly, the budget upholds our fiscally responsible practices, continues to provide vital programs and services to our residents, supports public safety and public health initiatives, and makes smart investments in economic development.”
The proposed plan maintains funding for important programs and services, says County Administrator Steve Bulger. “In the wake of increasing inflation, soaring costs for goods and services, and an uncertain national economic environment, the County is tightening its financial belt while continuing to make key investments in services and programs to sustain the quality-of-life Saratoga County residents enjoy.”
The plan would keep the levy within the tax cap and provide homeowners the lowest property tax rate in the State at $2.12 per $1,000 of assessed value, according to the county.
The County sales tax revenue projection is $150 million, a decrease of $4 million compared with 2021 sales tax receipts and approximately $8 million less than expected 2022 revenues.
Notable funding allocations includes nearly $53 million for investments in personnel, technology, and equipment for the District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office, Probation Department, Public Defender’s Department, and Conflict Defender’s Office.
Other notable allocations:
• More than $600,000 to promote economic development and tourism.
• Nearly $3 million for community development organizations that support initiatives including literacy and career development, history and culture preservation, and agriculture and environmental conservation.
• About $400,000 for the Farmland and Open Space Grant program to maintain the county’s extensive network of trails and open space.
• Usage of $130,000 in Opioid Settlement funds that the county says will “create programs and provide services to connect families, veterans, and underserved populations with community-based treatment, rehabilitation, recovery, and support services related to opioid and substance use disorders.”
The Board of Supervisors will host a 2023 budget workshop at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 9 and has tentatively set a Dec. 14 date as a Special Board Meeting at the county complex in Ballston Spa for the 2023 Budget Adoption.