KINGSTON – Two top Ulster County Legislature Republicans “dismissed” the latest report by Democratic County Comptroller Elliot Auerbach as being “out of touch with the taxpayer.”
Auerbach said this week the 2017 spending plan relies on $16 million of county reserves to balance it and that budgets should be developed with a multi-year approach.
But, legislature Chairman Kenneth Ronk and Ways and Means Committee Chairman
Richard Gerentine, both Republicans, said the alternative to using reserve
funds would be to hike property taxes. Ronk said that is not the
way to go.
“When costs keep going up – we have a labor cost that keeps going up, our health insurance costs are skyrocketing as they are for all businesses and all municipalities, that is what the fund balance is there for,” Ronk said. ”I think it would be disingenuous on our part to not utilize the fund balance that we have built up and raise taxes, because then we are taxing the residents more than we need to, which is not what we are sent to Kingston to do.”
Gerentine said Auerbach has made similar criticisms before and neither the legislature nor their independent auditor agrees with the comptroller.