Schenectady County

Scotia budget approval delayed over BID funding

Approval of the village’s 2012-13 budget has been delayed as officials decide what to do about fundi

Approval of the village’s 2012-13 budget has been delayed as officials decide what to do about funding for the Business Improvement District.

The sole speaker at Wednesday’s public hearing on the $8.4 million spending plan was BID Executive Director Nell Burrows. The organization is seeking to increase its budget by $4,000.

Burrows told the board that the organization has been dysfunctional over the past few years. However, they hired her to strengthen it and make it like the Upper Union Street BID in Schenectady. She said she is working a total of 80 hours for the organization from September to mid-May.

BID members, which include businesses such as the Glen Sanders Mansion, Jumpin’ Jack’s Drive-In and Gabriel’s Market, unanimously voted to increase their budget so they can have more funding for additional programs, according to Burrows.

However, even though the money is coming from the BID, it is still included in the village’s budget, and the increase would cause the budget to exceed the state tax levy cap. Earlier this year, the board voted to give themselves the authority to override the cap should it become necessary. Burrows said the board should exercise that option.

“Only 45 taxpayers are affected if the BID budget is increased,” she said. “No one else in the village gets their taxes increased in any way,”

Mayor Kris Kastberg said his feelings about the BID have already been stated. Last week, he said the BID has about $70,000 in reserve funding but no solid plan for what programs they would like to pursue. He said he does not want to exceed the tax cap.

Trustee Thomas Gifford said he did not have enough information to make a decision Wednesday night. The board has to adopt the budget by May 1.

The board will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday to hear some options from Kastberg and possibly adopt the budget.

In addition, Kastberg provided some updated budget figures. The spending plan still totals about $6.4 million for the general fund, $753,000 for the water fund and $1.3 million for the sewer fund.

The village will take in about $1.8 million from other revenue sources and tap $300,000 from surplus, which will leave about $4.9 million to be raised through property taxes.

Westmere Realty LLC was successful in reducing the assessment on its four apartment buildings through a legal challenge, however, according to Kastberg. Because of that, the total assessed value of all property in the village was reduced slightly, which will result in another penny increase in the tax rate over what Kastberg had originally projected.

If adopted, he said, the tax rate would increase from $11.24 per $1,000 of assessed value to $11.64. An average homeowner with an assessed value of $125,000 would see their village tax bill rise to about $1,455.

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