The first draft of the town’s 2009 budget would result in a 4.9 percent tax increase, but town officials may try to reduce that.
Town Supervisor Frank Quinn presented a tentative budget of $17.55 million, which is a 4.5 percent increase from the current year.
Quinn said he already made reductions from the budget requests that departments submitted, which would have resulted in a 42.5 percent increase in the tax levy.
If the budget is adopted as proposed, the average town resident with a house assessed at $173,000 would see a town tax increase of $11, to $526, and a Scotia resident with a house assessed at $124,000 would see taxes increase by $2, to $93.
Quinn said the majority of the increase in the budget stems from contractual pay increases as well as increases in benefits like health insurance. The cost of fuel and salt has also risen.
Quinn said there are no new hires. There are reductions in the amount of overtime and personnel money requested by departments.
“There’s pain in here. I’m not saying there’s no pain,” he said.
Quinn proposes to use about $671,000 of the fund balance, or surplus, to offset the increase in spending. This would leave $1.5 million in the account.
He added that because the town budgeted conservatively when estimating its revenues for 2008, it is actually receiving $478,000 more than it projected. However, expenses also are up about $190,000, or 1.8 percent more than budgeted.
Quinn said one reason for the revenues was the amount of residential construction in the town.
Board member Edward Rosenberg said the town needs to be cautious. “We may need to rethink that revenue line,” he said.
The board will make revisions to this spending plan and come up with a preliminary budget by Oct. 15. There will be a public hearing on Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall and the board is scheduled to adopt the final budget on Nov. 19.
The first draft of last year’s budget had a proposed 68 percent tax increase. Board members eventually whittled that down to a $16.8 million spending plan, which resulted in a 6.1 percent tax rate increase.
In other business, the Town Board voted to lease one new snowplow truck for the Public Works Department. The town will lease a $176,000 truck over 5 years at 4.87 percent interest. The annual payment will be around $40,000 but the town does not have to make the first payment until 2010.
The town has 12 trucks total and four need to be replaced. The Public Works Department initially requested four but the board is only funding one this year.
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