SARATOGA COUNTY
2023 TENTATIVE BUDGET

COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR’S
BUDGET MESSAGE

To the Honorable Chairman Theodore Kusnierz, Jr., the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors, and the residents of Saratoga County:

I am honored to present the Tentative 2023 County Budget for your review and consideration. Thanks to the leadership and vision of our elected officials, Saratoga County continues to be a statewide leader among all counties in many important metrics related to quality of life, fiscal responsibility, and the strong and vibrant growth of our population and economy. We were pleased to be designated as the healthiest county in New York State by US News and World Report, earning high marks in categories including economy, education, public safety, equity, environment, and infrastructure, among others.

I am pleased to report the County remains in excellent fiscal shape as we move forward into increasingly uncertain economic times. This is due to our well established fiscally conservative approach that County leadership has maintained for decades, which forms the basis for the robust population and tax base expansion we continue to experience.

The two key metrics that have helped drive this growth will be in place again for 2023: the lowest county sales tax rate AND the lowest county property tax rate in New York State. Our proposed 2023 budget provides for a significant 5% decrease in the property tax rate, once again without exceeding the state’s property tax cap. In addition, we are proposing to spend $3.2 million less in 2023 than our adopted 2022 budget. Finally, for the first time in many years we are not proposing to use any reserve funds to balance the budget.

We believe this property tax decrease is positive news for our taxpayers as they struggle to cope with the highest inflation rate in forty years. Like everyone else, the County is tightening our financial belt to deal with both higher prices and potentially less revenues if projections of a recession come true.

There are challenges ahead we must deal with. The biggest challenge continues to be new unfunded mandates that our state and federal governments force on counties to provide additional services and programs. Taxpayers have to foot the bill for these burdensome mandates, and I am very proud of our County workforce who continue to do a good job delivering these services to our residents.

I’d like to thank Chairman Todd Kusnierz, Law & Finance Chairman Jon Schopf, and our Supervisors who were involved in this new Budget Process by providing their time, insights, and recommendation to the Budget Liaison Committee. I also thank our Department Heads and their teams for their assistance and feedback throughout this process.

Most importantly, I thank our Budget Director Stephanie Hodgson, Deputy Administrator Ridge Harris, and Director of Human Resources Scot Chamberlain for their hard work and thoughtful perspectives, along with this year’s Budget Liaison Team, John Warmt, D’Arcy Plummer, Chris Schall, and Matt Rose.

Respectfully submitted,


County Administrator


2023 TENTATIVE BUDGET BRIEF


2023 TENTATIVE BUDGET
HIGHLIGHTS

  • Delivers a balanced budget of $378.3 million for 2023 without using fund balance reserves for the first time in six years
  • Reduces the overall budget by $3.2 million from the 2022 adopted budget
  • Reduces the County’s Property Tax Rate by 5%, keeping it under the tax cap
  • Maintains Saratoga County’s position as having the lowest county property tax rate in New York State
  • Maintains funding for important programs and services

LOWER PROPERTY TAXES &
FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE PRACTICES
The 2023 proposed budget reduces the property tax rate by 5%, keeping the levy within the tax cap and continuing to provide Saratoga County homeowners the lowest county property tax rate in the State at $2.12 per $1,000 of assessed value. This will provide on average a 5% property tax cut for homeowners and businesses.

The 2023 tentative budget cuts government spending by $3.2 million over the 2022 adopted budget while maintaining funding for and making key investments in important government services and programs.

The County makes a conservative sales tax revenue projection of $150 million, amidst national soaring inflation and uncertainty in future consumer spending habits. This is a decrease of $4 million compared with 2021 sales tax receipts and approximately $8 million less than expected 2022 revenues.

The County’s debt service remains less than 1% of the County’s operating budget. This low debt helps to maintain the County’s high AA+ rating from Standard & Poors (S&P), which will help the County weather any possible downturns in the nation’s uncertain fiscal environment.


PUBLIC SAFETY & HEALTH

The tentative 2023 budget makes significant investments in public safety to build upon Saratoga County’s longstanding ranking as one of New York State’s safest communities and support officials’ increased obligations stemming from changes in New York State public safety laws. These include nearly $53,000,000 for investments in personnel, technology, and equipment for the District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office, Probation Department, Public Defender’s Department, and Conflict Defender’s Office.

The tentative budget allocates $50,000 for a county wide first responder needs assessment to provide critical information for future personnel needs, planning, and response efforts.

The budget allocates $20,000 to purchase Automated External Defibrillators for patrol vehicles, allowing trained Sheriff’s Deputies to provide life-saving aid before an ambulance can arrive and $15,000 for Project Lifesaver, which helps children with autism and people with dementia.

The proposed budget utilizes $130,000 in Opioid Settlement Funds to create programs and provide services to connect families, veterans, and under-served populations with community-based treatment, rehabilitation, recovery, and support services related to opioid and substance use disorders.

The proposal allocates $25,000 to expand the successful EMT Career Pathway Program county wide to help meet the growing need for more first responders.


TOURISM, ECONOMIC
AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
& OPEN SPACE

To continue Saratoga County‘s status as a cultural, entertainment, and industry destination for travelers and businesses worldwide, the tentative 2023 budget provides more than $600,000 to promote economic development and tourism.

This spending plan provides nearly $3 million for community development organizations that support initiatives including literacy and career development, history and culture preservation, and agriculture and environmental conservation. This funding includes $150,000 to further the county’s goals to leverage Saratoga County’s vast historical resources, advancing it as a world class heritage tourism destination.

The proposed 2023 budget includes $400,000 for the Farmland and Open Space Grant program to maintain the county’s extensive network of trails and open space.

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