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County budget calls for flat property tax, but hike in tax levy

Rochester Business Journal
November 14, 2012

The 2013 budget proposed by Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks keeps the tax rate at $8.99 for the sixth straight year and increases the amount of taxes to be collected by $1.9 million.

The 0.6 percent hike in the tax levy as part of Brooks’ $1.18 billion spending plan unveiled Tuesday marks her fourth consecutive budget with a levy increase of less than 1 percent.

“I take great pride in presenting a budget that preserves the property tax cut we delivered in 2008 and honors my longstanding commitment to local taxpayers by proposing a flat property tax rate for a ninth consecutive year,” Brooks said in a message to delivered to members of the Monroe County Legislature.

“At $8.99 per $1,000 of assessed value, the tax rate is lower today than when I first took office in 2004.”

The Republican-controlled Legislature is expected to pass the budget during its December meeting.

Democrats in the Legislature declined to comment specifically about the budget until reviewing its details.

While Brooks points to the tax rate as evidence of fiscal discipline, critics say the rate is misleading. They point to a tax levy that has increased in each of her budgets.

The levy has grown by 26.5 percent since 2004. Brooks attributes that increase to economic growth in the county during her tenure.

The tax rate rose to $9.10 from $8.03—a 15.7 percent jump—in 2003, the last year under County Executive Jack Doyle.

Brooks kept the rate at $9.10 in her first three budgets, cutting it to $8.99 in 2008 despite a 2.8 percent increase in the levy.

(c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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