Budget to be released Tuesday

JOHNSTOWN – Taxpayers in Fulton County may be initially pleased with no tax levy increase showing when the county’s tentative 2014 budget is released Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.

County Budget Director Alice Kuntzsch will release her tentative county budget to the board at its meeting, which starts at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the County Office Building.

She is slated to give a public presentation on the spending plan at 2 p.m. The board will vote later to “accept” the budget, which means it will be reviewed during future meetings.

Supervisors are expected to adopt the 2014 county budget in either late November or early December. By law, the county has until Dec. 20 to adopt the budget.

Supervisors said at the Oct. 17 Finance Committee meeting the tentative $88 million budget for 2014 seeks no tax-levy increase. Officials at that time said they used fund balance, a scaled-back capital plan, belt-tightening by department heads and an expected increase in sales tax revenue to keep the levy at $28.4 million, unchanged from this year.

Perth Supervisor Greg Fagan, vice chairman of the Finance Committee, said today the tentative 2014 budget still intends to have a “zero tax levy increase.” He said the average county tax rate may actually be lowered from 2013 because of changes in assessments.

“Hopefully, we can find some other [savings],” Finance Committee Chairman Jack Callery, Johnstown’s 3rd supervisor, added today. “I’m an optimist.”

The board on Tuesday is also expected to conduct a public hearing at 1:30 p.m. on proposed capital projects for next year.

In other anticipated business at the board meeting, supervisors will hear at 1:10 p.m. from Kevin Crawford, executive director of the New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal. He will distribute program dividend checks to municipalities.

In regular business, the board is expected to set 2014 tipping rates, the rates charged to customers of the Fulton County landfill. Among 56 other resolutions on the agenda, the board is slated to authorize a contract with Smartwatt Energy to complete an investment grade energy audit for energy conservation projects at county facilities.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at