Ossenfort submits proposed budget to legislature

Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort submitted his proposed 2017 budget of $111.2 million to the county legislature on Friday. According to a statement issued the same day, Ossenfort said his plan stays under the state-mandated tax cap while continuing to “make the critical investments needed to move the county forward.”

The proposed budget includes $79.4 million in revenue, other than property taxes. That is an increase of $1.5 million over the 2016 adopted budget, and it includes the use of $3.8 million of the
county’s fund balance. The maximum tax increase allowed under the tax cap this year is $260,000, or 0.93 percent.

Ossenfort called his proposed budget “a mixed bag of news,” saying he is encouraged by job growth in the private sector and overall lower unemployment, but adding that counties all over the state, including Montgomery County, are “finding it more and more difficult to put together a fiscally sound budget” due to the tax cap remaining under 1 percent for the second year in a row.

Under the county charter, the county executive is required to submit his proposed budget to the Legislature by September 5 each year. The next charter-imposed deadline is September 10. On or before that date, Ossenfort and Montgomery County Treasurer Shawn Bowerman must meet with the legislature’s Budget and Finance Committee to review the proposed budget. That meeting has been set for 4:05 p.m. Tuesday in the legislative chambers in Fonda.

Other deadlines in this year’s budget process as dictated by the county charter include:

  • September 25 – the legislature’s Budget and Finance Committee shall conduct a public hearing on Ossenfort’s proposed budget.
  • October 5 –the legislature shall conduct a public hearing on Ossenfort’s proposed budget and the report of the Budget and Finance Committee.
  • October 10 – The chairman of the legislature shall call a meeting to consider the proposed budget and make any changes.
  • October 15 – If the legislature has not adopted a budget, the county executive’s proposed budget will become the budget for 2017.
  • October 23 – The county executive shall approve or veto all changes made to the budget by the legislature.
  • October 31 – Following receipt of the county executive’s veto message, the legislature has until this date to reconsider each vetoed item in the proposed budget. A two-thirds majority vote (6 of the 9 legislators) is required to override a veto.

John Becker

John Becker is both a Reporter and Consulting Editor for The Compass. He and his wife Pat operate Abbey Farms in Amsterdam NY.