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Oswego County Legislature prepares for upcoming budget vote

Gino Geruntino

The scrimping, saving and belt-tightening is paying off, as residents of Oswego County will only see a small increase of less than one percent in their property taxes for 2014. But what do the county's cost-saving measures mean for the average Oswego County homeowner?

The proposed tax rate would go up 16 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value, translating to about an extra $15 tacked onto a homeowner's bill. While the rate is the highest it's been in six years, it still keeps the rate lower than it was in 2005, by more than 20 percent.

To keep the tax rate low, cuts were made to county personnel and general operating costs. The slashing has resulted in eight fewer county jobs, five downgraded positions and 32 other jobs vacated, then filled at lower pay.

Of course, those job losses and reduced costs are tempered by more than $80 million in lost property value, mainly because of a drop in the assessed values of the James Fitzpatrick and NRG power plants. That devaluation alone is enough to force a nine cent increase in the county's property tax rate.

Other costs are also going up, like the county's new emergency communications system, which is entering its first full year.

The Oswego County Legislature will vote on its $197 million budget December 12.