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Legislature Adopts 2024 County Budget

Monticello, NY – Via unanimous vote today, legislators approved the 2024 Sullivan County Budget, though not all of them were completely happy with the outcome.

The $291,024,284 budget comes with a 1.4% tax levy increase to cover an unanticipatedly high hike in health insurance costs but does not propose incurring new debt.

“This Legislature is leaving Sullivan County in the best financial position it’s ever been in, but we could have left it in an even better position,” said Legislature Chairman Robert A. Doherty. “I’m disappointed we raised taxes, especially since we have $71 million in our fund balance. I think we unnecessarily burdened the people of Sullivan County.”

“Unfortunately, we had to raise taxes to cover this unexpected health insurance increase,” stated District 2 Legislator Nadia Rajsz. “Overall, though, we have a good budget.”

“I’m happy with how the budget will be funded. I think it strikes the right balance,” noted District 3 Legislator Mike Brooks, who proposed what was ultimately agreed upon: to cover half of the $2 million health insurance shortfall with a tax increase, and the other half with monies from the County’s unexpended fund balance.

“It’s a fair budget,” added District 4 Legislator Nick Salomone. “We all compromised on it, as much as we could.”

“I did not want to have a tax increase,” said District 5 Legislator George Conklin. “But at the end of the day, we compromised, and due to prudent budgeting and management, we’ve kept this budget pretty trim.”

“I think it’s a good budget,” remarked District 6 Legislator Luis Alvarez. “I’m concerned with what the State is going to demand of us in 2024, and we need to be prepared for that.”

“We had to do something to address this surprise health insurance increase,” explained District 7 Legislator Joe Perrello. “It’s a good, solid budget, and they voted on it the way I wanted. I’m a negotiator, and in the end I was aiming for a 1.4% tax increase.”

“No one likes raising taxes, especially when the County is in the best fiscal shape it’s been in years, but due to uncertainties with the State and the economy, it was prudent for us to do a small percentage increase,” noted District 8 Legislator Ira Steingart.

“My compliments to the County Manager’s Office, the department heads and everyone who was involved in creating this budget,” said District 9 Legislator Alan Sorensen, who – like Steingart – is retiring from the Legislature at the end of this month. “I’m very happy to leave Sullivan County in better financial condition than I found it 16 years ago, when I first became a legislator.”

Highlights of the Adopted 2024 County Budget include:

  • An historic $23.6 million for road and bridgework throughout the County, to be achieved without going into debt by bonding
  • $2 million for a Housing Trust Fund to address the housing crisis in the County
  • $2 million to provide for the design and renovation of County office spaces, as prioritized by the next Legislature
  • $700,000 for the Sullivan Promise Scholarship Program, which provides up to two full years of tuition-free attendance at SUNY Sullivan for local high school graduates
  • $470,000 to expand Move Sullivan’s popular bus routes to Cochecton, Eldred, Foxcroft Village, Grahamsville, Jeffersonville, Livingston Manor, Narrowsburg, Neversink and Roscoe
  • $424,000 for the next Legislature to offer to eligible community nonprofits via the Discretionary Funding Program
  • $360,000 to replace patrol vehicles in the Sheriff’s Office
  • $300,000 (an increase of $100,000 over last year) for the Youth Bureau to fund local organizations serving youth and their families
  • $300,000 to demolish blighted properties via the Sullivan County Land Bank and the Remove Unsafe Structures (RUSt) Program
  • $165,000 to hire new dispatchers in the Sheriff’s Office, thus allowing two more deputies to head out on road patrol duties
  • $150,000 for a Water Resource Study to map the inventory of this liquid necessity, especially in areas facing development
  • $100,000 for improvements to Lake Superior State Park (which the County manages), including expansion of the beach and walking trails
  • $45,000 for an Animal Control Officer to liaison with Public Health on rabies issues

In order to attract talent to the extremely busy District Attorney’s Office, the 2024 Budget sets all vacant Assistant District Attorney positions at a floor of $90,000 a year, along with salary increases for existing ADAs. Also, new positions will be added to Office for the Aging (Personal Care Aides) and Public Health (Community Health Workers and an Epidemiologist Supervisor) to boost the County’s health rankings.

Full details of the adopted budget will be made available at (look for “Sullivan County 2024 Adopted Budget” tab in the lefthand margin).