It's a record budget for the Onondaga County legislature. The property tax rate will be the lowest it has been in 20 years. That means most residents will see a drop in their county property taxes. As our Katie Gibas reports, it was tough decisions over the last two years that made this budget an easy one to pass.
ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. – Fifteen minutes. That's how long it took for the Onondaga County Legislature to adopt a budget. Last year it took about nine hours. The year before, more than 12.
"I've been on the board for 31 years, and I've never seen a budget like this." said Onondaga County Legislator Mark Stanczyk.
Legislators cut $7 million out of County Executive Joanie Mahoney's budget. The tax rate is the lowest it's been in 20 years. That means tax payers in the city of Syracuse and 26 towns and villages will see a drop in their taxes, ranging from $1 to $32 on a $100,000 home.
"This is really an unprecedented budget that I've been involved in. A very high level of cooperation on a bipartisan basis with all the legislators and also between the legislature and county executive's office. And the net result is a very, very good result for the taxpayers," said Onondaga County Legislator Pat Kilmartin.
Stanczyk added, "It's a big step in the right direction when most government, school districts, towns cities have had to raise their taxes we've been constantly lowering them."
Now many people haven't forgotten the tough decisions legislators made last year and the year before including cutting funding to the arts and cutting air one funding. But legislators say it's those decisions that set them up so well for this year.
"We're reaping the benefits of those difficult decisions. We put this county in good path many years ago through prudent financial management and we thankfully have the benefits of that now," said Stanczyk.
Another reason they've been able to lower taxes is because two years ago, they decided change the sales tax formula. So that the county no longer shares that money with the towns and villages. Now municipalities are making cuts and raising taxes to make up for the loss. And despite reductions in the county tax rate, eight municipalities will still see an increase of anywhere from $9 to $30 on a $100,000 home.
"It's one of the best budgets we've had in years. It's just I think we should have used more of the fund balance to bring taxes down even more and keep them even," said Onondaga County Legislator Judy Tassone.
The budget now goes back to Joanie Mahoney for her signature to enact the budget.
To find out how your taxes are affected: