BALLSTON SPA – Saratoga County officials this week released the tentative 2022 County Budget.
Highlights of the proposed $381 million budget include more than $4 million in new investments in the Sheriff’s and District Attorney’s offices - for body cameras, judicial discovery laws, officer training, and mandated jail programs, and more than $3 million to support health and human services initiatives and the county’s Public Health Services department’s transition to a full-service Department of Health.
Additional items include: $5 million in community support grants and $1 million to economic development and tourism for the county.
Approximately $141 million is anticipated in sales tax receipts by year’s end, to be used as the baseline sales tax revenue figure for 2022.
The 2022 budget also anticipates a slight decrease in the property tax rate without exceeding the state’s property tax cap. The county will hold a budget workshop Nov. 10, a Public Hearing on the budget is scheduled for Nov. 30. It is anticipated the budget adoption date will be Dec. 8.
“On the revenue side, it appears the county is going to have approximately $9 million more in sales tax for 2021. This is mostly dependent on the rising costs in goods and fuel, and we’re also starting to see the benefit of collecting sales tax from online purchases as more and more people buy goods online,” Saratoga Springs Supervisor Matt Veitch said.
“On the expense side, we’re going to increase our Open Space funding to $400,000 and we’re increasing our Trails funding to $150,000. We do have $25 million in Capital projects, which is substantially higher than we’ve had in the past.
“We did have $35,000 in there for the Saratoga Performing Arts Center – which has not been founded for a long time from the county - and requests for $30,000 for the Military Museum, $250,000 for the Saratoga Springs City Center for lost revenue, and $300,000 for assistance for the third fire station,” said Veitch, regarding budget requests for Saratoga Springs sites specifically.
City Supervisor Tara Gaston said while pleased with the budget, she does have some concerns, and requested the public actively attend upcoming budget workshops. “This budget allocates $4 million to the Sheriff’s Department, and only $3 million for the expansion of the Public Health services. I think (Public Health) has been an under-resourced and under-funded department for a long time, and especially as we’re now moving to full-service, we need more funding there. The county is in general a good financial state, so it doesn’t make sense to not do that.”
As part of the multi-million Capital Budget for 2022, the Long-Range Capital Planning Committee in September authorized the option of a Capital Facilities bond to fund up to $12 million in proposed capital investments to spread the county’s costs over 10 years. Specific projects include highway equipment and maintenance, bridge upgrades, and facilities improvements.
The budget includes nearly $5 million in community support grants, including a new $2 million non-profit grant program, which will assist organizations in need to recover from the pandemic.
At its monthly board meeting Oct. 19, the county Board of Supervisors authorized the acceptance of just over $645,000 in COVID-19 Vaccine Response grant funding in state aid, from the New York State Department of Health. The funding period is Jan. 1, 2021 through June 30, 2024 and aims to increase COVID-19 vaccine administration equity, and to implement vaccine confidence strategies for COVID-19 and routine vaccinations.
To view the 2022 Tentative Budget and County Administrator’s Budget Message visit: www.saratogacountyny.gov