The total proposed operating budget totals $939.8 million, which is a .9 percent increase from the 2011 spending plan, or around $8 million. An additional $172 million is slated to be spent in grant allocation.

County Executive Maggie Brooks proposed the 2012 county budget this morning, which includes a number of cuts to operational spending and keeps the property tax rate flat.


The total proposed operating budget totals $939.8 million, which is a .9 percent increase from the 2011 spending plan, or around $8 million. An additional $172 million is slated to be spent in grant allocation.


"Our 2012 budget is clearly an example of what a responsible government can accomplish, and what a committed administration can do when it answers to the only special interest group that matters — the local tax payer," Brooks said today at a morning press conference.


The proposed budget keeps the tax rate flat at $8.99 per $1,000 of assessed value, with a total levy of $351.5 million. Additional charges for Monroe County College, which appear on a separate line item on the tax bill, will vary from town to town, based on enrollment.


"We felt it was fair and equitable to distribute the cost of the college throughout the community," Brooks said.


In preparing the budget, financial staff had $51 million gap to meet. There's a proposed elimination of 42 positions, three of which would be actual layoffs in parks, planning and environmental services areas.


Around $31 million is estimated to come from the sale of property tax liens. Other examples of the county's belt-tightening include $8 million in department budget cuts, $8 million health care cuts and selling $2.5 million worth of county owned buildings.


Of the total budget, 82 percent, or $686.7 million, is in mandating spending. There are still gray areas from the state about the effect of the property tax cap on county budgets, like whether or not


Legislator Anthony Daniele, R-Pittsford, chair of the Ways and Means Committee, said the budget is a "fluid reality" that changes throughout the year, but estimates are conservative to help prepare for unexpected losses.


"One of the things we pride ourselves on as a legislature is in having a budget that's conservative, more conservative than we need to be, and we've saved more through anticipation," he said.


Brooks addressed concerns about the budget being released before Election Day, a criticism that's been heard from local Democrats and her county executive opponent, Democrat Brighton Town Supervisor Sandy Frankel.


"I think we've been very consistent with our answer that we will release the budget when it is ready, and it is ready," Brooks said. "People who are complaining the same people who will complain that we did release the budget before election day,"


Legislator Vinnie Esposito, D-Irondequoit, said that he was glad to see the budget released on time — the deadline is Nov. 15 — but local Democrats will be issuing a response to Brooks' proposal later this afternoon following further review.


"As ususal it sounds terrific, but we rarely get the whole picture at first," he said.