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Jason Garnar Announces Broome County 2019 Budget Proposal

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County Executive Jason Garnar proposed a $385 million budget for his second State of the County Address. This is $10 million more than what he proposed last year.

Wednesday night he announced more funds for the workforce development portion in his address at the new Dicks Distribution Center, which opened January of this year, in Conklin. It was a setting Garnar said is "perfect" since its created hundreds of jobs, which aligns with his. Including, a need to increase funding for programs like Welcome Wagon through the Chamber, and "Clean Sweep" with the District Attorney’s office. Programs that will get those unemployed back in the workforce.

“My hope is that the county legislators see numbers," Garner said. "They see the 4,000 open jobs and realize as a county we have an office of employment and training that help give the people the education and training they need to get to work."

Not only is Garner working to fill those jobs, but he also wants to create 15 new ones. Those positions would meet the state-required Raise the Age legislation passed last year.

“We can’t put 16 and 17 year olds in our Broome County jails anymore," Garnar said. "We have to provide a number of wrap around services.”

Like positions in the departments of Probation, Social Services, Sheriff, District Attorney and Law. Costs, Garnar said, would be reimbursed by New York State. However, one legislative member said he's not quite sure how that will pan out.

"It seems like a lot of new positions being created, so I'd like to learn more about those positions and see how it's going to benefit the county," Stephen Flag, Broome Legislature Majority Leader, said. "I'm sure he's going to provide us with some type of job description and the need for these resources in the community. So, those justifications we'll be looking for."

Garnar proposed an increase in funds for public safety, as well, with the addition of a Corrections Officers at the Sheriff’s Office required by Centralized Arraignment. Emergency dispatchers and an Emergency Management Coordinator for the Office of Emergency Services has also been added in light of recent flash flooding.

Garnar, in addition, threw in a no-frills no-gimmick treat for tax payers.

"Broome County tax payers, I am proposing a reduction of half a percent in the property tax rate for 2019," Garner said during his address.

The spending plan would reduce the county property tax levy by 0.495. The last time a cut like this was proposed was in 2004 for the 2005 budget.

“They’re going to find out they’re not even paying just the same as they did last year," Garnar dais about tax payers."They’re going to pay less and I think people are going to be very happy about that.”

Regardless, there would be zero change to the sales tax formula for 2019 for the municipalities.

Garnar has included $150,000 for his Small Communities Grant Fund he created through last years budget. This provides grant money to municipalities for economic development projects and has been successful for projects in Fenton, Deposit, Windsor and Conklin to name a few.

Flagg said they’ll comb through the budget to see if they can make the tax cut. Wednesday night is the first time legislature members heard the proposal.

They'll be deciphering the budget throughout the next month. The vote of approval is November 13th.

If you would like to check out the budget for yourself, then click here.