ORANGE COUNTY, N.Y. – Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus unveiled a proposed $752 million spending plan for 2018 that would cut property taxes to their lowest levels in five years on Friday.
Neuhaus delivered his budget presentation at the newly constructed Orange County Government Center’s Legislative Chamber in front of members of the County Legislature and County Judiciary system, County employees, representatives of the business community and the public.
“I’m proud of the work that we have done over the last four years to turn Orange County around,” Neuhaus said in a statement. “We have negotiated union contracts, completed long overdue projects, reduced the workforce and kept taxes under control, all while improving services to County residents. I’m extremely proud of this budget and the hard work and dedication exhibited by County employees each and every day.”
Other highlights of the budget include:
- The Office of the State Comptroller this week removed the designation of “susceptible to fiscal stress” from Orange County, confirming the improved fiscal health of the county.
- The County’s unassigned fund balance has increased to $43.7 million, more than doubling since 2013.
- The County’s early retirement incentive has saved approximately $15 million without sacrificing services to residents.
- Sales tax revenue has increased $9.5 million since 2014.
- The County’s investment in tourism has paid off as hotel/motel taxes have increased 18 percent over the last three years.
- Temporary assistance cases in Orange County have dropped by 18 percent; Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP) cases have decreased by 12 percent.
- The number of residents employed in Orange County has increased from 168,500 in 2014 to 174,400 this year, dropping the unemployment rate 6.4 percent to 4.6 percent.
- The County’s fund balance has been restored to levels recommended by the State Comptroller’s Office.
- Orange County Airport, which once lost money, no longer requires taxpayer subsidies due to reduced costs and expanded opportunities for local aircraft and corporations.
"County Executive Neuhaus continues to find innovative ways to reduce the cost of government while expanding services," Chairman of the Legislature Steve Brescia said in a statement. "It has been a pleasure working cooperatively with him and the Legislature, developing a budget that works for all residents. This budget is disciplined and fiscally responsible. I commend County Executive Neuhaus and all who worked on this budget.”
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