MAYVILLE - The Chautauqua County Legislature's Audit and Control Committee is on a mission to not increase the tax levy.
The committee began the first of its budget hearings Monday. According to committee Chairman John Runkle, R-Stockton, the committee members had agreed prior to the meeting to work to maintain the 2013 tax levy.
"Individually, I talked to the committee, and we all agreed before this procedure started today that we would look for ways to not raise the tax levy at all, find ways to reduce it whenever possible, so there would be no tax increase for people here in Chautauqua County," Runkle said. "What we're going to try to do is see if we can reduce taxes by $1.6 million, which will give us a neutral tax levy."
The committee first heard from the Human Services Committee, followed by department heads from social services, public health, the Chautauqua County Home, mental hygiene, the Office For the Aging, probation, youth bureau and Veterans Service Agency.
The Audit and Control Committee then heard from the Public Safety Committee, as well as the Sheriff's Office, district attorney, public defender and emergency services.
"Today, we were able to get $1,250,000 reduced from the tentative budget, at least for now," Runkle said. "We're on our way to what our committee had desired to do, and that would be to have no tax levy increase whatsoever."
The committee meets today to hear from the Public Facilities, Administrative Services and Planning and Economic Development committees. Wednesday, it will meet to make final changes and draft a budget recommendation.