Executive Fiala Delivers 2nd Budget Message

BINGHAMTON, NY - Broome County Executive Barbara J. Fiala outlined her 2007 Recommended Budget for Broome County Lawmakers Monday, October 2nd in a special legislative session. Fiala announced that her 2007 spending plan would increase the property tax rate by 3.67%, which is less than the inflation rate in the Northeast and across the United States.

Fiala pointed out there are numerous positive signs that our local economy is turning around including; increased manufacturing jobs, low unemployment rates and a spike in new construction. However, Fiala says we cannot simply focus on the positives without focusing on the challenges as well and that any proposed budget must maintain a conservative approach to spending.

“I promised Broome County taxpayers I would keep the tax rate as steady as possible without any dramatic spikes and I believe I have delivered with this 2007 spending plan,” said Fiala.

Fiala announced during her budget message that she will soon release details of an omnibus health insurance resolution that will outline ways the county can explore changing its coverage and potentially save $5 million over the next 4 years.

“Our healthcare costs are skyrocketing and there doesn’t appear to be any state or national solution in sight,” said Fiala. “County healthcare costs have now surpassed Medicaid as the number one expense in the county budget. We must work together with lawmakers and our employees to reduce the health insurance burden.”

Fiala said one of the biggest challenges her administration faced in putting the 2007 budget together was the recent decision by lawmakers to revert back to the 50-50 split of the sales tax revenues.

“That single decision eliminated $2 million in revenues which equates to a 3.75% increase to the tax rate,” said Fiala. “Had lawmakers not reconfigured the sales tax formula, our tax rate increase would have been zero.”

Broome County lawmakers have until November 15th to review and make changes to the 2007 spending plan. A final budget must be in place by November 27th.