Warren County unveils 2021 budget with $2.2 million spending cut

Warren County

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Budget officer Kevin B. Geraghty presented Warren County’s tentative budget for 2021 Friday morning live on the county’s YouTube channel, to give residents an idea of how spending would change in the coming year.

The main highlight in next year’s budget is a $2.2 million spending cut by the county, as well as a decreased property tax rate. The money from those decreases is planned to go toward road repairs and keeping other services active.

That would knock county revenue from $113,807,047 in 2020 to $110,769,910 in the coming year.

The spending cut comes from a variety of smaller places. Those include no pay raise for most county employees; no increases for county-supported organizations; a second year of reduced property and casualty insurance costs, thanks to changing carriers and bidding competitively; and lower debt service expenses, as the county refinances bonds.

The county also analyzed areas of underperformance and opportunities to restructure, all of which propose another $135,000 in total savings if implemented.

COVID-19 also played a role in the changes. Warren County expects remote work to save them around $25,000 in overtime costs. A reduced tax rate also helped.

The road projects are a big part of the puzzle. Annual road maintenance costs between $3-$3.5 million per year to keep up, and the county is finishing the year behind on work. Getting back on track will take an uptick to $4.9 million in work per year over several years.

Cranking up that spending quickly is important, too. The longer the county holds off, the higher the costs increase.

“This not only delays the date when we eventually catch up, but also makes every year from now until then more expensive than it has to be and with less to show for it,” Geraghty said in the presentation.

A retaining wall project in Bolton is a similar case, and even more urgent. The wall in question is the line of defense between Lake George and a Bolton sewage line.

There, the plan is to borrow the $695,000 the project demands, rather than pay outright using funds from sales tax revenue that may be in jeopardy due to the 2020 economic slowdown. The budget includes $150,000 to appropriate towards paying the money back.

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