Proposed 2018 Budget Adds to Programs, Personnel, But Stays Under Tax Cap   

Sullivan County Manager Josh Potosek gives a presentation on the 2018 Tentative County Budget to legislators

Monticello, NY – Ambitiously setting a goal to fund expanded services and programs while limiting the growth in property taxes, Sullivan County Manager Joshua Potosek today delivered the 2018 Tentative Sullivan County Budget to the Legislature.

“As proposed by my office, the 2018 Tentative Sullivan County Budget invests heavily in what’s important to our residents: highways and bridges, public safety, economic development, community beautification, and health & wellness,” Potosek says. “It does so, however, without significantly increasing property taxes, the burden of which, as a County resident myself, I understand.”

The $226,143,143 budget, as currently proposed, stays under the state-mandated property tax increase cap, with an estimated tax levy increase of 2.3%. Full details of the budget are available at (click on “County Manager’s Office” in the dropdown “Find a Department” menu, then click on “Budget” in the left margin).

Highlights include:

• $28.2 million in capital infrastructure investment, including cash and bond payments supporting an unprecedented $10 million to replace deteriorating bridges, $6.2 million to pave more County roads and $350,000 to replace the County Courthouse’s sidewalks and heating/ventilation system
• $750,000 for two additional Assistant District Attorneys and five additional Road Patrol Sheriff’s Deputies in order to promptly catch and prosecute criminals
• Two new Caseworkers in Child Protective Services
• $50,000 to begin an Attraction and Retention Incentive Program for EMS personnel
• $530,000 to repave the Adult Care Center’s parking lot, improve the facility’s exterior and renovate showers, along with marketing and promotion of the to-be-announced new name
• $100,000 for the enhancement and expansion of the O&W Rail Trail system
• $100,000 for new Public Transportation routes
• Add a clerk in the Department of Motor Vehicles Office to reduce wait times
• $75,000 for a Municipal Growth Incentive Program to streamline commercial zoning and approvals, thus accelerating growth of our crucial commercial tax base
• $75,000 in matching grants for towns and villages who commit to improving gateways and welcome signage
• $75,000 for a new Municipal Blight Program, which will allow municipalities to dispose of condemned buildings’ debris free of charge at the Monticello Transfer Station
• Funding to gradually increase the minimum wage for County employees to $15 an hour, beyond the state mandate, in order to attract and retain qualified personnel in a newly competitive market

The budget also takes into account costs that are out of the County’s control, including a 9.5% hike in health insurance premiums. A larger property tax hike is being avoided by the use of $350,000 from County proceeds of the Resorts World Catskills Casino’s license fee, $2.9 million from the growth of sales tax receipts, $200,000 in increased room tax revenues, and no raises for County management.

Even then, however, the County continues to maintain a healthy $11.8 million fund balance (surplus) for unanticipated expenses.

Legislators now have until December 20 to review, discuss and adopt the budget. A series of to-be-announced public meetings and hearings will also allow taxpayers and residents the opportunity to comment.