Schenectady County

Glenville takes steps to override tax limit

Glenville officials have taken the first step to override the 2 percent tax cap but say they hope th

Glenville officials have taken the first step to override the 2 percent tax cap but say they hope that won’t be necessary.

Glenville Supervisor Chris Koetzle said the Town Board fully intends to stay under the cap. However, in order to even have the option of overriding it, the board has to hold a public hearing and pass a local law. The hearing will take place on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Glenville Municipal Center on Glenridge Road.

“All we’re doing is giving ourselves the ability to manage the budget when it’s due and have all the tools available to do that,” he said.

While the board wants a fiscally sound budget, trying to get to what Koetzle deemed a “magic” 2 percent may not be in the town’s interest.

“We want to get the tax levy as low as possible. It may not be 2 percent,” he said. “We all have to ask ourselves: What does 2 percent mean as far as services and where [do] those cuts have to come in services and do those residents want to lose that?”

As a pre-emptive move, Koetzle has implemented a six-month hiring freeze. The freeze could be overridden by the majority of the board. Koetzle said the board may be interested in shifting some positions to part time.

Last year, the town adopted an $18.2 million total budget that contained about a 5 percent total increase in the tax levy. Koetzle is submitting his tentative budget on Friday.

He said the spending proposals that were originally submitted to him by department heads would increase the tax levy by 12 percent. Koetzle has been trimming for the last two weeks to try to get under the cap. About $450,000 needs to be cut to get under the cap.

“We are cutting across the board. Everybody is going to feel some pain here, but unfortunately everybody has to understand it’s a shared pain. In order for us to get where we need to get, we’re going to have to cut some of these expenses in the budget that were seen as really nice services,” he said.

Koetzle did not mention specifics because the personnel involved have yet to be notified. He is looking at redesigning the way services are offered at Town Hall.

The town is also going to have to re-examine the variety of programs it funds benefiting youths, seniors and the community at large, he said. Equipment purchases are also likely on the chopping block.

For the owner of a home assessed at about $170,000, every 1 percent increase in the tax levy is an increase of $5 in taxes.

The biggest increases in the budget are health insurance and pension costs. Also, revenues are shrinking. Mortgage tax revenues have declined because of the weak housing market, and fines collected by the court system are also down. Koetzle said usually that revenue has been in the range of $250,000 but the town will be lucky if it hits $190,000 this year. He said people are having more difficulty paying and the town may have to raise its fees and fines.

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