Schenectady County

Cost of fuel, salt drive Niskayuna budget higher

The town of Niskayuna’s tax levy would increase just over 5 percent under the supervisor’s proposed

The town of Niskayuna’s tax levy would increase just over 5 percent under the supervisor’s proposed 2009 budget, officials said Tuesday, for a total collection of $6.05 million.

Overall, appropriations would increase just under $260,000 for total town spending of $12.6 million, which includes more than $3.5 million in highway spending.

Supervisor Joe Landry is blaming the increase in part on a high fuel costs and prices of materials.

One area that has increased markedly in price is road salt, Landry noted. For 2008, $85,000 was budgeted. In 2009, that figure would be set at $125,000.

“It’s hard to be a fortune teller and say how much snow we’re going to get,” Landry said. “We tried to do the best we could in the budget to try to meet the needs of the town.”

Comparison year-to-year for individual homeowners is made more complicated this time in that the town recently completed its townwide reassessment. Valuations on some properties have increased more than others, meaning an across-the-board comparison is difficult, Landry said.

Homeowners can use their new assessment to figure out their taxes under the plan. Taxes would be $2.178 per $1,000 of assessed value. Businesses would see a $3.883 per $1,000 tax rate.

Last year’s overall tax rate increase was 9.9 percent.

The budget contains no new positions. The board did create the part-time position of project aide in the supervisor’s office earlier this year, Landry noted. That position oversees community programing at Landry’s direction, most recently working on an online soccer registration program.

Overall, water and sewer employees will receive their contracted six-month, 2 percent increases. Non-union employees would receive 4 percent increases. Police and highway contracts expire at the end of the year.

The amount of reserves used in the proposed budget is being kept at the same level as the current year, $413,000.

Income from the mortgage tax is expected to weaken.

The public hearing on the budget has been tentatively scheduled for Oct. 28. The 2009 spending plan must be adopted by Nov. 18.

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