Debbie Preston gave her first County Budget Address Monday evening. Our Melissa Kakareka tells us what the County Executive is proposing in 2013 and what kind of reaction her proposed budget is receiving from legislators and political opponents.
BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- When asked about her 2013 budget last week, Debbie Preston said she believed taxpayers would be happy with the outcome. The Broome County Executive unveiled the details behind that statement while presenting her budget to the Broome County Legislature Monday.
Preston's $365.8 million budget delivers a zero percent increase in the property tax levy for 2013.
"When I ran for office last year, I promised to hold the line on no new taxes. I know that the people of Broome County cannot afford to pay a penny more," said Preston.
The County Executive's proposed budget focuses on implementing changes that will save money every year. She highlighted several initiatives that did that in 2012, such as cutting the pay of county employees, and is also proposing several new initiatives in 2013, such as merging the operating aspects of the Parks Department and Youth Bureau and implementing a retirement incentive for county employees and not refilling some of those positions.
"In reviewing our operations, our focus has been and will continue to be long term orientated. I have stressed over and over again the importance of paying attention to details, correcting inefficiencies, with an emphasis on recurring savings," said Preston.
Preston's budget also includes suggestions such as restoring sales tax revenue to a 50-50 split between municipalities and the county over time, increasing Broome County Transit fares by 50 cents and reducing the county's debt burden.
County legislators say they look forward to a more in depth discussion of Preston's budget in the coming weeks.
"People don't want to pay any more in taxes. She realized that by coming back with a responsible budget, I'm looking forward to looking into that budget some more," said Broome County Legislature Chairman Jerry Marinich.
"I'm looking forward and sitting down and going through the numbers because often time, what you find in the details is what really matters," said Broome County Legislature Minority Leader Mark Whalen.
While Preston's Democratic challenger in the upcoming election had a few questions of his own.
"Again, they are including savings that were done by the previous administration. Two things I’m definitely surprised by, with BC Transit, they are moving forward with a 30 percent increase. And the nursing home, nothing has been done with the construction of the new facility," said Broome County Executive candidate Tarik Abdelazim.
As legislators dig into the budget, they will hold a public hearing within the coming weeks. The legislature must vote on the budget by November 15.
Preston delivers her budget
YNN CNY: Preston outlines 2013 budget proposal
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