A public hearing on the budget last week was void of the public and media
By Andrew Harris
The Allegany County Legislature held the required annual public hearing last Thursday to present the 2024 budget and allow the public to provide comment for the record. Residents have also been able to submit written comments to the board for consideration before the budget is voted into law.
This public hearing featured an introduction to the budget, a presentation on the budget highlights, and the required “reading of the budget,” by the Clerk of the Board. At multiple points during that hearing, the public is invited to ask questions and make comments.
Allegany County Chairman and Legislator from District 5(Alfred,) W. Brooke Harris reports that not one county resident or member of the media attended the public hearing. At the time of this reporting, not a single Allegany County resident has participated in the process of adopting the 2024 budget.
Despite the interest in national politics, Allegany County residents are totally disinterested in local government unless the subject is a protest, eminent domain action, or a percieved scandal.
Lacking any scandal, county budget officers offered the slideshow presentation below to explain revenues, expenses, and placed the tax cut in historical context.
The real big news from the 2024 tentative budget is a healthy tax cut, bringing Allegany County property taxes to their lowest level since 2003. No small feat considering that inflation has dramatically increased the cost of doing business for everyone, including the county.
With the required public hearing completed, the tentative budget will go before the Ways and Means Committee for approval, and then to the full board for a final vote.