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Preston Delivers 2015 Budget Address

Broome County Executive Debbie Preston outlined her proposed financial outlook for 2015 in her annual Budget Address in front of the Broome County Legislature.

“This has been a very difficult year, not only for me, but for Broome County,” says Preston.  “We had to make a lot of difficult choices and we have put together a responsible budget proposal for the people we work for, the residents of Broome County.”

This year’s budget proposal comes with a tax levy increase of 2.49 percent.  That’s about 1.5% below the tax cap allowance of 3.93%.

“We never want to raises taxes,” says Preston.  “Unfortunately, with rising costs and more unfunded mandates, it was unavoidable.  We could have had a 0% increase using one-shot gimmicks, overstating our revenues or kicking the can down the road, but I refuse to do that.”

Some of those unfunded mandates include the Juvenile Delinquency program that now costs the County $573,000. This program was previously funded by New York State.

Preston announced several cost saving measures in this year’s budget proposal, including:

                 - Not replacing non-essential personnel

                 - Declining retirement costs

                 - Health Insurance Savings

Economic Development
One of County Executive’s main priorities since taking office is creating jobs.

Preston announced that three businesses will either be moving into Broome County or expanding operations over the next few months.

The businesses will invest more than $6,000,000 in Broome County and create over 240 jobs in the next 2 to 3 years.

“I want to thank the Broome County Industrial Development Agency for working with us to bring these businesses to our area, and helping them expand,” says County Executive Preston.  “You’ve heard me preach the importance of creating jobs and I want to thank these new companies for having faith in Broome County and growing here.”

Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena
The County has made major renovations to the Arena and continues to upgrade the facility.

On top of bringing in revenue for naming rights, the County has installed new seating, new lighting and will soon install a new scoreboard for the upcoming hockey season.

“Renovations to the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena were crucial to making that building a top notch facility,” says County Executive Preston.  “Our efforts have not gone unnoticed and those efforts are part of the reason Ottawa decided to renew their affiliation agreement with the Binghamton Senators.”

SUNY Broome
At SUNY Broome Community College, brand new dorms recently opened.

These dorms are bringing students into our community who will spend money in our stores and restaurants which add to our sales tax collections.

 

The new science center will be opening on campus shortly that will certainly attract more students to start their college careers at a great school like SUNY Broome.

“SUNY Broome is one of the best colleges in the Country,” says Preston.  “These upgrades will make it even more attractive to prospective students.  When enrollment goes up, more money is brought into the County and that’s good news for everyone.”

Office of Energy Development
The Office of Energy Development continues to help reduce costs in the County by instituting energy efficient programs and obtaining grants to help do just that.

 

Through their efforts, the Office of Energy Development saved the County over $100-thousand dollars by installing energy efficient lighting in the parking garages under Government Plaza.

 

Soon there will be an announcement on a joint project at the Broome County Public Library with the Office of Energy Development and NYSERDA that will help lower our energy costs there, saving thousands more a year.

I am proud of the great successes of this office,” says Preston.  The Office of Energy Development has more than paid for itself in all the energy saving and cost saving initiatives it has undertaken and we look forward to more of the same in the coming years.”

IT Department
The Information Technology Department is in the process of completing a change over to a new voice over IP system that will replace our current phone system.

This new system has already saved the county thousands of dollars with hundreds of thousands more to follow.

This technology has opened the door to future possibilities in communication advancements. Technologies like online meetings and video conferencing are now available which save travel time and expenses while keeping pace with the daily demands of County business.

“These upgrades not only save us money, but also save us time and energy,” says Preston.  “That time and energy can be used to find further ways to improve on the services that we offer the residents of Broome County.”

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09/15/2014 - 5:53pm