Schenectady County

Average home tax bill up $18 under $18.2M Glenville budget

The average town resident will see an $18 increase in taxes under an $18.2 million total budget appr

The average town resident will see an $18 increase in taxes under an $18.2 million total budget approved Wednesday by the Glenville Town Board.

A town resident with an average assessed house of $173,000 would see their 2012 taxes increase from $553 to $571. Scotia residents with an average house assessed at $124,000 would see their taxes increase by $3 to $107.

Much of the budget goes toward special districts, like sewer and fire. In the three major budget funds — general, town outside the village and highway — the town is proposing to spend $11.6 million, which is a decrease of $150,000 from the current year. Of that, about $5.7 million is raised through taxes.

The general tax levy is increasing 2 percent to $1.7 million; highway is going up 3.2 percent to about $1.3 million; and town outside the village going up 3.9 percent to $2.7 million.

When the town excludes certain pension costs and factors in growth, the total average levy increase is about $100,000, or 1.8 percent — which complies with the state’s 2 percent property tax increase cap.

“I think it’s a good, responsible budget and I’m proud of it,” said Supervisor Chris Koetzle.

The only major change that Town board members made from the budget Koetzle originally submitted was to take out the 1 percent raises he had included for himself and them.

The plan includes no layoffs but the town is under a six-month hiring freeze and is not filling several vacant positions including a police detective, deputy town clerk and deputy highway superintendent. This will save about $150,000. The town is saving another $150,000 in health insurance costs because of increased co-payments and other changes in the new union contracts negotiated earlier this year.

Koetzle also cut $76,000 for the Highway Department’s paving, fuel and equipment line, reduced overtime across the board by $10,000 and saved $10,000 in tipping fees by having the town compost yard waste. Also trimmed was $12,000 from various programs the town contributes toward including youth summer recreation, Collins Park and Freedom Park in Scotia, the Scotia-Glenville Memorial Day Parade and the Scotia-Glenville Museum.

The town is also saving about $76,000 in energy costs because of its new solar panels on the Town Hall and a newly renegotiated contract with its electricity provider.

Koetzle said the town was able to reduce spending despite seeing pension costs increase more than 20 percent for 2012 — almost $200,000. He added that the town could have had a zero percent increase the last two years but has made a conscious decision to wean itself off using its fund balance, the reserve of unspent money from previous years.

“We saw what it did to Niskayuna. It lowered their bond rating because they’re too dependent on it,” Koetzle said.

Glenville is using only about $800,000 from the fund balance this year compared with $1.1 million in 2011 and $1.3 million in 2010.

The board commended the work of the supervisor, the department heads and the town’s budget committee in drafting the document.

“It’s difficult when you have a crisis with the economy and you have to make tough decisions,” said Councilman Sid Ramotar.

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