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County Executive Releases CGR Report on County Financial Restructuring Plan

ELMIRA - As part of the Governor's County-Wide Shared Services Initiative, Chemung County hired the Center for Governmental Research (CGR) to look at the fiscal health of the County and its municipalities. This included providing an overview of the impact of the County’s Financial Restructuring Plan and more specifically the sales tax formula adjustment that started in 2015.

After six months of research by CGR, the County received the report “Sales Tax, Municipal Impact and Shared Service Review.” One of the main things the report highlights and somethings we’ve known to be true all along is that unfunded New York State mandates continue to place a heavy burden on county taxpayers consuming the entire County tax levy and nearly 20 percent of sales tax collections.

“Because of the fact that unfunded mandates in the State of New York continue to consume the County’s entire property tax levy and nearly 20 percent of our sales tax revenues, it’s vital we continue to work together to hold the line of property taxes and still maintain quality services for our residents. I believe that the County Financial Restructuring Plan, which was established in 2015, fulfilled our commitment to be a State-Wide leader in bringing municipalities together in creating shared services initiatives which resulted in financial savings,” says Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli.

Additionally, the report showed that the fiscal health of local governments remains strong with the exception of the City of Elmira. Town and Village fund balances (reserves) remain more than adequate at an average of 55 percent of operating expenses compared to the County’s 13 percent through 2016. Town and Village full value tax rates on average have increased less than 1 percent from 2013 through 2017 after accounting for all administrative actions. In fact, one-half of local governments actually reduced tax rates during the period from 2013 to 2017.

As anticipated, at the time of the plan adoption the impact of the sales tax formula adjustments for the City of Elmira have been offset by the County assumption of shared services, including the Department of Public Works, IT, and Purchasing among others, and employee health insurance costs. This has
produced a net positive result for City residents.

“The plan has been effective in that it has provided greater financial stability to the County. The loss of revenue impacts to the City has been more than offset by the corresponding expense reductions from shared services and excessive municipal fund balances have been lowered while our local governments collectively have held the line of taxes, work more cooperatively together and have controlled spending. Much credit goes to our local government leaders and their boards for answering the call to be even more efficient and effective with taxpayer resources,” says Deputy County Executive, Mike Krusen.

To view the report click here
Powerpoint from Feb. 5 Legislature Meeting 

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County Executive Thomas J. Santulli