Saratoga County

Galway budget plan calls for raises, same rate

The tentative budget for the town of Galway includes a 2 percent pay raise for town employees, no ch

The tentative budget for the town of Galway includes a 2 percent pay raise for town employees, no changes in town taxes and less than a 5 percent increase in overall spending.

The budget from Town Supervisor George Hargrave calls for $2.138 million in spending in 2012, for town operations, the highway department and special districts. The special districts include a lighting district and two fire districts.

Hargrave said there were no significant spending cuts or new expenses included in the budget. He noted that the town’s contribution to the New York State Retirement system went up, health care costs were up and the Highway Department’s total budget increased by about $80,000.

A portion of the Highway Department’s increase will go toward a 2 percent pay raise, which was negotiated into their contracts. The contract included a 2 percent raise last year, and Hargrave said that future raises will be a point of discussion next year for the subsequent contract.

The 2 percent raise will not be applied to the town Board, but other town employees will also receive the increase.

One expense that Hargrave did not budget for, as he just learned about it on Friday, is the cost of hospital related expenses for town employees, which will go up 8 percent for 2012.

The largest source of funding for the budget is sales tax revenue, which Hargrave described as conservative. “We got burnt one year,” he said.

The projection for sales tax is a little bit above last year’s, he said, with a total of around $1.3 million.

Other major sources of revenue come from a mortgage tax, fines and a property tax, which is set to raise $325,000 for the Highway Department. The property tax levy is unchanged from 2011.

About $301,000 of the budget is funded from the town’s reserve fund. “It’s a good-sized chunk,” Hargrave said. “The whole idea is to keep taxes down.”

The dip into the reserve fund represents about half of its total, but Hargrave isn’t worried about lowering their rainy day fund. In the event of an emergency, he said, “We’d have to borrow money or raise taxes, but I don’t see that happening.”

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