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Madison County votes to raise taxes, not cut non-profit funds

Madison County's Board of Supervisors voted to not make sweeping cuts to funding for non-profit organizations Tuesday night. But the move will cost county taxpayers, who will now see an increase in their taxes.
Wampsville (WSYR-TV) - Madison County's Board of Supervisors voted to not make sweeping cuts to funding for non-profit organizations Tuesday night. But the move will cost county taxpayers, who will now see an increase in their taxes.

Supporters of non-profit groups packed the Madison County Complex to protest the proposed funding cuts, among them ARC client Josh Candeloro and his mother Wendy.

"It has been invaluable in his quality of life and the programs they provide. It would have been devastating,” Wendy Candeloro explained. “We know that all of the cuts would have affected all of his friends and all those we love and eventually it would have trickled down into other programs."

Under intense pressure, the Board of Supervisors restored funding to several non-profits, which prompted a round of applause in the chambers.

"Had those budget cuts gone through, eventually it could have meant closing our doors," said Steven Stokes with the Madison County Historical Association.

But there is a trade-off for taxpayers, with the tax levy increase now hitting nearly 8 percent as the county struggles to keep up with state mandates, worker healthcare and pensions.

"There are more layoffs coming as we consolidate departments. Our sheriff's department has been cut to the bone. Our highway department has been cut to the bone. Our non-profits weren't going to take a hit. They didn't want to take a hit," said Board of Supervisors Chairman John Becker.

Becker said proposed cuts for the highway and sheriff's departments were also eliminated in the resolution that restored funding for the non-profit agencies.

After Tuesday's public hearing for the budget, the Madison County Board of Supervisors is set to officially adopt a spending plan next month.

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