Utica, NY (WIBX) - Conservative Candidate for Oneida County Executive, Rodger Potocki, says the county's 2012 fiscal year budget is significantly over the 2-percent property tax cap put in place by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Potocki, whose facing sitting County Executive, Anthony Picente in the upcoming election, is accusing him of using "smoke and mirrors" to present a dishonest budget in an effort to win re-election.

Potocki says Picente is deferring over $4 million of pension fund payments from 2012 to future years. "And we the taxpayers will be charged interest for this postponement," Potocki said. He adds, "I understand there is an interest rate charge that the tax payer will have to pay annually. The latest figures that I heard as of last night, that that charge may range from 3.75 percent to 5 percent, so it will involve over $100,000 in added costs to defer those payments." He says if the pension plan cost remained in the budget, it would have added $4 million to the 2012 budget figures.

Another bone Potocki picked with his Republican opponent concerns Picente's method of cutting roughly $7 million in funding to Mohawk Valley Community College--a move he says also changes the numbers. "He's taking the millions, I think it's around $7 million bucks of county money that goes to MVCC--he's created a special tax for that--it's not included in this budget according to him. Now, it really is. It's all the same money, he's just using a vehicle to kind of say, 'we met the 2-percent,' but if you add the $7 million and the over $4 million, the budget is opposed to $360 million, is really $371 million, which would be over the cap."

Picente took a different position on his budget. "I presented a budget that is completely in line with the 2-percent cap. I held taxes at 2-percent. The budget is a $360 million budget at that, and it is within the confines of the tax cap legislation," he said. He adds that the pension plan cost deferment is not a new method. "As far as the retirement cost being deferred, I mean, none of this is ever been kept from the public. I explained my budget very completely and continue to do that each and every day and we've deferred retirement costs before," he said.

Picente says the move is in the best interest of tax payers because it protects them from a 10 or 15 percent property tax hike. On scaling funding to MVCC, Picente says his opponents figures are off, and says his budget calls to defer payment in 2013, which is a charge back of about $4 million--not the $7 million Potocki is asserting. He says it's a process that will keep local taxes at the level imposed by Cuomo, and says in the long run the new funding method will benefit tax payers.

Potocki said, "It is near November with election day around the corner, the budget soon upon us for final approval, and we still do not know who will pay what for MVCC." He says so far, the budget reveals that the City of Utica will be hit hardest of all.