Shortfall on sales tax leads to budget cuts in Broome County

Courtesy of Broome County
May 29, 2014

Broome County is putting in place an austerity plan after projected sales tax revenues fell short during the first quarter of 2014.

The plan calls for cutting $2.1 million out of this year’s budget. The county originally projected $31.5 million in sales tax revenue in the first quarter of 2014 but only collected 28.5.

Deputy County Executive John Bernardo blames this year’s extra harsh winter. Bernardo says that stopped a lot of people from going out and spending money.

“Now that our weather is improved we all know people will be going out and spending more money in our restaurants and stores,” says Bernardo.

The county plans to make up the shortfall by cutting seasonal positions for the parks and highway departments, holding off on filling vacant positions and making other cuts.

John Schaffer is the Vestal town supervisor in Broome County. Schaffer didn’t use the county’s numbers when planning Vestal’s budget.

He says sales tax revenues were higher then normal the past few years because of the flood of 2011.

“Why would you think it was going to stay spiked, you know? We have how many houses that were hit in the county and everybody was remodeling,” says Schaffer.

Schaffer says town officials decided last year not to follow the expected revenues from the county.

“I cut theirs down by fifty grand last year because it didn’t make sense to me and I couldn’t figure it out. I’m not the smartest guy in the block but I knew the figure looked inflated to me,” says Schaffer.

So far, Vestal has no plans to cut anything from their budget.