A fifth-straight property tax cut, upgrades to numerous County positions, and the largest parks improvement plan ever were all proposed during Broome County Executive Jason Garnar’s 2023 Broome County Budget Address. Garnar presented his annual budget proposal Wednesday evening at the former Endicott-Johnson Victory Building in Johnson City. It was the first in-person address from the County Executive in two years.
“We’re once again delivering a budget that saves taxpayers money while making investments that will make Broome County an even better place to live, work, and visit,” said Broome County Executive Jason Garnar. “Because of the work of our Budget Director, Department Heads, and especially my partners on the County Legislature, we’ve put Broome County in a position where we can once again cut taxes while also making strategic investments for our future.”
The proposed budget reduces the property tax levy by 0.1% - the fifth consecutive tax cut for Broome County residents. In his address, the County Executive detailed efforts that have grown the County’s fund balance from just $240 thousand in 2017, to $35 million at the end of 2021; work that has enabled him to continue holding the line on taxes while also investing in new infrastructure, programs, services, and most importantly, people.
More than 130 County positions are proposed to be upgraded in the 2023 Budget, representing an additional $688 thousand investment in the men and women who comprise the Broome County workforce. These upgrades build on a commitment to ensure County employees are compensated fairly; more than 700 positions have been upgraded since Garnar took office in 2017 – more than 200 of those just this summer for positions at Willow Point, Emergency Dispatch, and Social Services that could not wait until January when the new budget year begins.
As part of the biggest Parks proposal in the history, the budget proposes a new multi-use building, outdoor ice rink, and wiffle ball stadium at Grippen Park; new turf fields and lighting at BAGSAI softball complex; along with new pavilions, grills, trails, restrooms, and other amenities for visitors.
Garnar also proposed the largest investment in the County’s successful Small Community Fund program to date - $1 million to assist more non-profit agencies and municipalities make needed upgrades they may otherwise not be able to afford. Since 2018, this fund has awarded more than $1.5 million for nearly 60 projects across Broome County; the program did not award any funds during 2020 because of the COVID pandemic.
Other highlights from this year’s address include a continued prioritization of economic development, new housing projects throughout the County, building on two-straight years of a record number of roads and bridges being fixed, enhancing services