MAYVILLE – On Wednesday, Chautauqua County lawmakers unanimously passed the 2019 budget with a 6 cent decrease in the full value tax rate and Legislator Dave Wilfong told WNYNewsNow that the budget shows how lean the county is working.
County Executive George Borrello’s first budget as County Executive passed 17 to nothing with no opposition and not much debate.
Legislator Pierre Chagnon expressed concerns about including additional funding for the District Attorney’s Office to hire a drug prosecutor. Legislator Dave Wilfong also expressed concerns.
Wilfong said the budget is a milestone because of the tax decrease and the county holding the line on spending.
“It’s huge. Nobody wants to come into a bad situation and have to make some devastating cuts or a tax increase, but I think if you take a look at the track record of the past few years, and I’m part of that, as a group of people we are pretty conscious of the money we are spending,” Wilfong said.
Legislators worked hard to find savings for taxpayers, he explained.
“All of us went back to the table and we actually cut, I know I cut $25,000 out of the Health and Human Services budget to try to find some savings there so we could find some savings for the taxpayers. I don’t know what 6 cents is going to buy you,” Wilfong said. “I think the word is out Chautauqua County is doing some good things. We’re trying to watch the bottom line for everybody.”
The slight tax decrease could save property owners anywhere from $6 to $250 depending on the valuation of their property.
“It’s all about your taxes and what your house is worth. And what is 6 cents? It could be, depending on what your house is assessed for, it could be $6 or it could be $60 or $250. But what I want people to realize is that county government itself is actually running very, very lean and we are actually running cheaper than we were just several years ago,” Wilfong said. “And I think that itself is a milestone and I don’t want to take that away from the hard work that we have done and when I say we all of(I mean) us all, 19 legislators.”
While the tax decrease won’t make anyone rich or pay for a vacation, Wilfong said it is a sign that county officials are being judicious with taxpayer money.
“I think we are supporting the taxpayers so that they realize county government is watching our dollars, watching where we spend it,” he said. “As a group we are a very functioning governing body, I believe, and we’ve got some things done and were able to continue to cut their tax rate.”