We were as surprised as most yesterday morning when we read of Niagara County Manager Greg Lewis’ final budget, which includes a 5.4% tax hike for county residents. We would have commented yesterday, but we wanted to make a few discrete inquiries to friends in county government.
First off, we will accept the premise that this year’s budget environment is tougher than years past. That being said, after speaking with several sources in county government, we are confident that Majority Caucus lawmakers will be able to drop Lewis’ proposed tax hike significantly. Our contacts are sounding a note of caution about eliminating the tax increase all together, which they warm could hamper future years’ budgets, but they reassured us that Lewis has left plenty of stones unturned.
We’ll leave it to you, our readers, to decide if this is a kiss-off by a soon-to-be-former employee of the county, angered at not being offered a new contract, or if this is just, as Lewis asserted, a consequence of mismanagement by Albany’s bureaucrats.