Saratoga County

Malta budget keeps taxes unchanged

The Town Board on Wednesday adopted a $7.8 million town budget for next year, after restoring hours

The Town Board on Wednesday adopted a $7.8 million town budget for next year, after restoring hours for the town’s part-time theater director.

For taxpayers, the town tax rate will remain the same at 2 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, and the fire protection tax rate will drop a few cents.

The board agreed not to cut the 20 hours a week currently worked by theater director Elyse Young, as had been proposed, after it heard an hour of public comment from Young and some of the adults and children she works with about the importance of the community theater program.

“It was very persuasive,” said Town Supervisor Paul Sausville, after speakers ranging from 8-year-olds to teens and adults addressed a sympathetic crowd about how they’d benefited from the town theater program.

Young has run the theater program and Spotlighter’s Theater Troupe for 20 years as a part-time town employee, putting on two stage productions a year and offering theater lessons.

“We work on a teeny budget to put on a really good show,” Young told the board.

The funding was restored and the final budget adopted after a closed-door board session on personnel, following the public hearing.

“We are not in such bad straits that a few thousand dollars will be a problem,” Sausville said before the executive session started.

However, the board voted in a series of split votes not to grant additional funding requests to the town veterans committee and the Malta Senior Citizens or to hire an outside engineering firm to review drainage problems in the Riley Cove area of Saratoga Lake. It also denied a funding request from CAPTAIN, the Clifton Park-based social services agency.

“We’re in a tough situation, and it’s time to cut,” said Town Board member Peter Klotz.

With sales tax and mortgage tax revenue both uncertain, the town is drawing $206,000 from its reserves to balance the new budget — something the town hasn’t had to do in the past.

The budget requires a 2 cents per $1,000 tax rate for for volunteer ambulance services, about the same as this year.

The fire protection tax will drop from 82.5 cents to 75.6 cents per $1,000, with each fire company receiving $690,000 in town funding.

A property owner with a $250,000 assessment will pay $155 next year in real property taxes for town services.

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