BATAVIA — Genesee County’s proposed 2023 budget currently sits at about $162.5 million, with a tax levy increase of $629,035 (a 2% raise) over this year.
The budget is now in the Legislature’s hands, County Manager Matt Landers said during Wednesday’s budget hearing.
“We’ve already identified a few changes to the budget that I’ve recommended,” he said. “There will be some adjustments to the budget. None of them are impacting the net amount we’re taking from taxpayers … so, that’s a good thing. There is still a future budget meeting or two to be held, to arrive at a consensus with the Legislature and make necessary changes.”
Landers said budget adoption is scheduled for Nov. 21.
“Feedback and input from the community is obviously always welcome,” he said. “I have a pretty wide-open-door policy or people see me in the street.”
The proposed county budget is $162,567,180, up $3,593,714 compared to this year’s budget. Landers said expense increases affecting the budget include debt service payments, starting in 2023, on the $70 million new jail project; eight new hires related to the new county jail and extra operational cost increases at the jail to prepare for the facility’s planned opening in 2024.
The jail debt service payments are approximately $3.5 million annually. Also, projected increased operating costs are over $1 million each year. The majority of these fixed and operational increases will start with the 2023 budget and will be fully realized in the 2024 budget, Landers said.
“We have a phased-in approach to the jail operation cost increases. We’re trying to be smart and not shock the system … and not have all of these costs come out of the system at once,” he said. “We had some COs (corrections officers) that we had in the budget for ‘22. We have the additional six COs for the ‘23 budget and in the ‘24 budget, we’ll also have additional corrections officers needed.”
For next year, aside from the six COs, there will be a new deputy jail superintendent position, and a new position in facilities maintenance.
The tax levy proposed for 2023 is $32,080,762. The county is raising the levy while staying under the state tax cap. The average tax rate would go down from $9.18 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $8.44 per $1,000. The maximum the county could have increased the levy is about $1,001,000.