MAYVILLE – “You get a lot of bang for your buck out of your county property taxes.”
Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello recently took time to discuss what he admits is a large, complex government budget, detailing how the county receives its money from property taxes, and where the money is typically allocated to.
“You’re talking about an approximately $250 million budget,” Borrello said. “You’re talking about all kinds of line-items, all types of services we provide. People don’t realize what the county provides as far as services.”
“It’s a very complex, very large budget.”
Borrello discussed the various shared services, including every 911 call that’s dispatched. Borrello also said that every bridge countywide is maintained by the county, regardless of the municipality.
“What I try to explain to people is the county bills the property taxes, and that includes other municipalities, like towns, in there, but the portion (of the property tax) that actually goes to the county is relatively small,” Borrello explained. “Fifty cents of every dollar that you pay to the county goes just to pay the local share of Medicaid. For $4.72 per 1,000, you’re getting the Sheriff’s Department, you’re getting the 911 center, you’re getting all of the road and bridge maintenance that’s being done by the county…The list goes on and on with all of the services the county provides.”
“All of that comes out of what’s the smallest portion of your property tax bill.”
Borrello reiterated that the budget is very sophisticated and broad throughout the county.
“It’s a complex, and wide-ranging budget. We have 1,250 employees that are delivering services 24/7 throughout the county.”
“Other than the two cities (Dunkirk and Jamestown), there’s 42 municipalities in Chautauqua County, plus the county, and very few are operating 24 hours a day like we are.”
Borrello said that 85 percent of the budget goes to unfunded mandates, and the quality of life areas come from the remaining 15 percent. He also said that Chautauqua County tries to take a leadership role as much as possible, despite the state recognizing the county as a municipality equal to a city, town or village.
“It’s my goal to deliver a responsible budget without increasing the tax burden,” Borrello said. “Again, it’s a small portion of your tax bill. It’s our goal to make that as affordable as possible, and maximize the value for the taxpayers.”
NOTE: This article is apart of a series of an interview WNYNewsNow conducted with County Executive George Borrello.
Journalists Justin Gould and Rory B. Pollaro contributed to this report.