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Officials Outline Broome County's 2016 Budget

Elected officials say teamwork between the County and Legislature played a major role in creating the 2016 Broome County budget.

Friday afternoon, officials outlined the budget at the County Office Building.

They say the County will increase its sales tax sharing with local municipalities by an additional 10%, working towards restoring sales tax.

The cost of election chargebacks for next year will be reduced.

In addition, the Legislature's finance committee reduced this year's tax increase from 2.21% to 1.88%, a percentage below the State's mandated tax cap.

Last night, there was protest over the County's cost-cutting measure of privatizing the Central Foods department. Advocates against the contract with Aramark say it has a bad reputation and they're worried about food quality.

County Executive Debbie Preston says the company has passed assessments by the County, but will continue be monitored. Preston says the $1.6 million in savings brings more than 2% in tax revenue.

"To ensure that high-quality meals are produced, we will have a County quality control person overseeing this company to make sure that our senior citizens are being taken care of," said Preston.

On the topic of fighting drug addiction in the area, Preston says the County has set aside $3.6 million, with more than $300,000 additional dollars this year as opposed to last year. She says there is work being done to secure more treatment beds in the community.

Money from the budget will also provide funding for the BC Transit, Willow Point Nursing Home, SUNY Broome's conversion of the Carnegie Library in Downtown Binghamton and rehab projects for local roadways.