LOWVILLE — The only comment made during the public hearing on Lewis County’s 2022 budget was one of appreciation.

Meghan M. Harney, director of the Lowville Free Library, spoke on behalf of representatives of the 12 Lewis County libraries and the North Country Library System at the special meeting of the county Board of Legislators on Tuesday evening.

“We all want to thank you for including the requests of the Lewis County libraries in the 2022 budget,” she told legislators, mentioning each lawmaker and the libraries in their districts by name. “The funding will ... enable us to effectively loan materials and give our patrons access to hundreds of thousands of titles through interlibrary loan, provide internet access including free and accessible WiFi, public access computers and other devices ... and provide access to digital resources that cover many topics including workforce readiness and educational literature. We’re grateful for your service to our county.”

With no other input or concerns expressed by the public, the $53.72 million budget for next year passed, locking in a stable tax rate with no increase over the 7.56% of 2021 and no decrease in county services.

Revenue generated by property taxes is, however, expected to increase slightly from $17.7 million to $17.81 million, a bump of 0.62%, because of a corresponding increase in the value of taxable property from $2.342 billion to $2.357 billion.

To balance the budget and keep the tax rate stable, about $1.98 million of the general fund balance will be used. That fund was up to $24.1 million as of September from $16.2 million in October 2020.

Payments in lieu of taxes by wind and solar projects are not included in the budget to balance operational costs, but are kept in fund balances for future planning, including an anticipated $1.1 million infusion into the capital account.

County Manager Ryan M. Piche is the budget officer and Treasurer Eric J. Virkler is the deputy budget officer. Together they lead the committee entrusted with preparing a balanced budget every year.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(1) comment

HotelMike

I didn’t know they still had libraries. I can put an entire library on my iPad. They will eventually ho the way of bookstores…

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