MONTICELLO — Sullivan County's tentative budget for 2019 would lower property owners' tax bills and prepare the county for future economic development.

County Manager Josh Potosek gave legislators a first look at the nearly $235.2 million budget during their executive committee meeting Thursday.

“Sullivan County government has never been better and is ready for positive economic development growth that is here,” he said.

The proposed 2019 budget would increase spending by about $9 million, or 4 percent from the current year's budget. It stays below the tax cap.

Due to a 4.5 percent increase in the county's total taxable assessed value, the county portion of property tax bills would decrease by 1.6 percent, or approximately $19 per $100,000 of assessed value.

The proposal also introduces the first reduction in the solid waste access fee since it was instituted about 10 years ago, according to Potosek.

The commercial rate would drop from to $200 from $300 per year and the residential rate to $80 from $120.

Potosek said the 2019 budget anticipates an increase of $3.75 million in sales tax revenue. It also projects a $2 million infusion of revenue from Resorts World Catskills casino, significantly less than was projected before it opened in February.

"We hope for their best success, but we are taking a prudently cautious approach and not relying on prior revenue projections to balance the county’s budget,” Potosek said.

Other highlights of the budget include $8.8 million for road and bridge work, $200,000 for municipalities to demolish unsafe structures, $200,000 for environmental studies to prepare shovel-ready development sites along the Old Route 17 corridor and funds to increase the minimum wage for all county employees to $15 an hour.

Another $200,000 is allocated for a pilot project to use a county-owned telecommunications tower to provide wireless high-speed and low-cost broadband to the Village of Monticello and part of the Town of Thompson, Potosek said.

“If successful, this can be replicated in other vertical assets, whether owned by the county or not," he said.

County legislators have until Dec. 13 to adopt the budget. Public hearings are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 11 and 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 13 in the hearing room of the Sullivan County Government Center in Monticello.

mnanci@th-record.com