Allegany Budget Proposed, Tough Choices Paying Off

The Allegany County Commissioners received their Finance Department’s proposed fiscal 2018 budget last week, which includes $86.9 million budgeted to the general fund, and no tax increases. The total budget is $124.2 million. The budget increases by 0.74 percent over fiscal 2017, and reduces the property tax rate by one penny.

In his cover letter to the County Commissioners, Allegany Director of Finance Jason writes:

The hard decisions and tough cuts and sacrifices of the past several years are allowing us to present this budget with slight increases and allows us to continue to maintain a strong financial position that the tax payers deserve of their government. We have reached or exceed our goals for debt service and fund balance continues to be well positioned so that we may offer the services we promise to our citizens.

The Board of Education’s budget increases by $254,323, or 0.8 percent over fiscal 2017, meeting maintenance of effort. County employees receive a two percent Cost of Living Adjustment. Debt service decreases by a small amount and makes up 3.4 percent of the budget.

The budget reflects an increase of 16 percent in health insurance costs. During the next year, the county intends to rebid its health insurance and explore a retirement incentive for county employees.

Nearly half of revenues funding the general fund come from the property tax, which funds 47.38 percent of the budget. Income tax revenues, which are projected to decline by $500,000, fund 30.67 percent. The state disparity grant funds 10.28 percent of Allegany’s general fund.

Most of the general fund – 70.4 percent – funds services not directly provided by county government. This includes K-12 education (35 percent), and the detention center and Allegany College (8.8 percent each), as well as the State’s Attorney’s Office, library, health department, and 911 services.

The Preliminary Budget is available here. Preliminary budget hearings are scheduled for May 4 and 18, with adoption scheduled for June 1. The Capital Improvement Program is scheduled for presentation on May 4, 2017. Questions on the budget may be sent to finance@alleganygov.org.