The Putnam Legislature is scheduled to vote on County Executive Kevin Byrne’s proposed budget Monday evening (Oct. 30), after making various modifications during committee meetings throughout the month and identifying additional savings to offset other new spending and reduce the tax burden even further.
“The budget my administration presented is one that represents a concerted effort to better control and prioritize county spending, lower the property tax rate, and reduce the overall tax burden, all with no new borrowing,” said Byrne. “I thank Chairman (Paul) Jonke and appreciate the Legislature’s efforts toward demonstrating fiscal conservatism and discipline. As I’ve stated numerous times, no savings is too large or too small for our county to take advantage of.”
During the Legislature’s October Budget & Finance Committee meeting, lawmakers eliminated $500,000 that Byrne has proposed putting toward a Municipal Partnership Initiative to support local governments with infrastructure costs, as well as a program to help local community service organizations become competitive in applying for funding.
Instead, those funds will be diverted to enable the county to fully fund a new position at the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and further reduce the property tax levy, lowering Byrne’s proposed tax rate of 2.87 to 2.85 percent – an 8 percent reduction from the 2023 property tax rate of 3.12 percent and still the lowest property tax rate in 15 years.
Earlier this month, the county executive presented his first proposed budget, which included a reduction in the overall tax burden – the first of its kind in 25 years – by also providing a sales tax cut on clothing and footwear less than $110. The sales tax cut was listed as an agenda item for the Oct. 26 Audit Committee meeting for review and consideration.
The budget still provides for the expansion of mental health services for residents and continues to protect vulnerable populations by filling Medicaid gaps created by cuts from Albany, according to Byrne.
The budget deadline, as per the County Charter, is Nov. 1.