Oswego County Legislature Chairman's Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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Sept. 29, 2006

Legislature Tackles 2007 Budget

Much of the County Legislature’s work over the next few months will be devoted to finalizing the county budget for 2007.

The process entails a series of deliberations and discussions as department heads, county administration, and legislative committees review pieces of the spending plan. Each member of the County Legislature will be directly involved and have input in the process.

Work on the budget actually began a few months ago, when our department heads submitted their spending plans to County Administrator Steve Lyman and Budget Analyst Stephen Loadwick for review. Meetings were held with department heads to review individual budgets in detail, to make sure that projected expenses and revenues were accurate, and to make sure that budgeted items were necessary and justified.

It is the role of the Legislature’s Finance and Personnel Committee, which is chaired by Legislature Vice Chairman Greg Osetek, to review the proposed spending plan and recommend a finalized budget to the Legislature for adoption. The committee includes Minority Leader Michael Kunzwiler, who serves as committee vice chairman; and legislators Fred Beardsley, Tom Bullard, Michael French, Kevin Gardner, John Proud, Jerry Thomas and Phillip Vasho. The proposed budget will be submitted to the Finance and Personnel Committee on Oct. 3.

Each of the legislature’s standing committees will examine the sections of the budget under their departments’ jurisdiction. The committees have the opportunity to make recommendations back to the Finance and Personnel Committee. A series of budget workshops will be scheduled and a public hearing will take place before the tentative budget is voted upon by the entire Legislature in December.

As we approach work on the 2007 budget, here are some important points to consider:

  • The average county property tax rate dropped about 1.3 percent with the adoption of the 2006 budget. Many legislators have pledged to hold the line on taxes again in 2007.
  • The county’s total real property tax levy in 2006 was 38 percent lower than it was in 1995.
  • The 2006 budget included $154,363,818 in appropriations – a decrease of more than $1 million in spending compared to 2005.
  • We continue to keep Oswego County free of debt.
  • Our unappropriated fund balance has been restored to a healthy and reasonable level. It can help prevent large tax increases from unexpected economic downturns or natural disasters.

This Legislature has worked hard to achieve economic stability in Oswego County government. As we prepare the 2007 budget, we remain well aware of our responsibility to build upon that foundation, and to continue to provide necessary services to county residents while holding the line on property taxes.

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