Schenectady County

Budget sessions set as town searches for additional cuts

As budget workshops near, Glenville is still looking for ways to trim next year's budget.

Glenville officials are looking for places to cut in next year’s budget, as the tax levy would increase by 9 percent if all department requests were approved.

Supervisor Chris Koetzle stressed that the he won’t propose that much of an increase in the tentative budget that he submits by the end of the month. “My proposal will be within the [2 percent] tax cap — one way or another,” he said.

Residents are invited to two budget work sessions. The first will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Glenville Senior Center, 32 Worden Road. The second will be held at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at Town Hall.

The town’s 2012 budget is around $18.2 million with all the special district funds included.

Koetzle attributed part of the increase to health and retirement costs. The numbers are still rough, but the town is projecting a 10 percent increase in health insurance costs and a 15 percent increase in pension contributions.

“Between health and retirement, you’re talking close to half a million dollars in new spending,” he said.

One thing not included in Koetzle’s calculations are raises for town employees. Contracts with each of the town’s bargaining units — police, highway and CSEA employees — expire at the end of the year.

“I don’t think with this financial situation, we can do that,” he said.

Koetzle added that town staffing has dropped from 101 employees as of Jan. 1, 2010, to 94 currently.

“I think everyone would agree we’re thin-staffed. We’re going to have to get very creative,” he said.

Glenville PBA President Michael Lamb said the union has not had any discussions with the town about the next contract. “We’re looking forward to sitting down with him when the time comes,” he said.

Among some of the other new spending requested are police cars and new highway department trucks. Koetzle is also seeking to reduce the amount the town taps from its surplus from $800,000 to $650,000. Koetzle has repeatedly sought to lower use of the surplus, which he has likened to using a savings account to pay bills.

Koetzle was also highly critical of the proposed sales tax agreement negotiated between the county and the city of Schenectady. The towns are going to split $7.7 million in sales tax revenues under this eight-year deal. “That’s crumbs,” he said, adding that it seamed unreasonable given the amount Glenville has added to the tax base during that time.

Schenectady County spokesman Joe McQueen said county officials believe the proposed sales tax agreement is fair and equitable because it guarantees that the towns, county and city would be able to share in the growth of sales tax revenue.

McQueen said all towns in the county share a $7.7 million base amount, which is divided up based on the portion of assessed value in each town. Also, 30 percent of all Metroplex proceeds are distributed to the towns. Since 1999, Glenville has received $9.3 million of those Metroplex funds, according to McQueen.

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