17% Tax Increase Included in City of Elmira's 2018 Proposed Budg - WENY News

17% Tax Increase Included in City of Elmira's 2018 Proposed Budget

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- The City of Elmira has revealed its proposed 2018 budget. City Manager Mike Collins made the announcement Friday morning, unveiling the $32 million spending plan.

And with the goal of reducing costs, comes the possibility of higher property tax. Collins proposed a 17% increase for property owners, as well as a $7.50 increase in city sanitation fees.

"Reduce, reduce, reduce, we've done that on an annual basis," says Collins. "It was difficult, and certainly these choices were not taken lightly, but I do feel we need police [and] we need fire. "I am not reducing staffing levels, I am not requesting a layoff to accommodate the budget."

The proposal also continues to explore the idea of shared services to help reduce costs.

In 2016, the City ended the year with a 2.5 million dollar deficit. This years' proposal includes a $45,000 dollar surplus to help chip away at the deficit.

"I think any business or resident homeowner will not be happy with the number 17% but I think if we look at it on a monthly basis and see what that increase it," says Collins, "that may be more doable."

For a home valued at $50,000  dollars, Collins says that increase would cost property owners $15.83 per month.

Collins says plenty has been done behind-the-scenes to try and address Elmira's ongoing financial struggle, but not enough to fully fix the problems.

"That's the financial crisis," says Collins. "That's a concern. Not only for my position or for the Chamberlain's position, but you don't want a city that has issues, especially when there's so much development going on currently."

City council workshops to discuss the proposal will begin shortly after the first of the year. If the budget is accepted, it would be implemented in March.

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