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County Executive Releases 2014 Budget

County Executive Debbie Preston presented her  2014 budget to the County Legislature Wednesday, proposing a 2.97 percent property tax increase. 

There has been no property tax increase the past two years. 

"Our proposed budget is in line with the rate of inflation despite continued cost increases and decades of ignored upgrades to our jail and nursing home, unfunded mandates from the federal and state governments as well as costs associated with Obamacare and union contractual agreements," said Preston.

The county estimates Obamacare will cost $1.6 million in additional premiums and health care costs in 2014. One project being addressed in this budget, enlarging the jail medical unit to meet state standards.

Preston says the County must also address what she calls the
crippling effect of union contracts.

"The private sector continues to experience layoffs, pay cuts and furloughs.  But in Broome County government, the unions have increased wages 27% on average since 2004," said Preston. 

She says the county is currently negotiating with two unions and will negotiate with the remaining six.

"The unions are going to have to step up to the plate and they've got to start helping the people of Broome County because that's who we work for," said Preston.

Preston also proposed 1.24 million in property tax dollars to go towards Willow Point Nursing home and $137,000 be allocated to SUNY Broome.  Preston proposed no hike in public transit fare and said two new buses will be added to the fleet in 2014. 

The legislature will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget and vote on November 15th.

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