After a break from a tax increase in Broome County last year, executive Debra Preston's proposed $3.75 million budget for the next fiscal year calls for a tax hike of 2.97%.

The Republican cites increasing expenses, like maintaining Broome Transit buses, the Willow Point Nursing Home, the Broome County Jail as well as mandated costs that include medical coverage and other benefits under negotiated contracts with county employees' unions, as driving the need for an increase this year.

During her address to the legislature yesterday, Preston called on union cooperation to help keep costs in check as contract negotiations continue.

The full legislature will be reviewing the proposal and making adjustments before setting public hearings over the next two months.