Schenectady County

Niskayuna proposal keeps tax hike under cap

Niskayuna’s 2013 budget proposed Monday by Supervisor Joe Landry calls for a property tax levy incre

Niskayuna’s 2013 budget proposed Monday by Supervisor Joe Landry calls for a property tax levy increase of less than 2 percent.

The budget keeps fees steady, as well as services with no job cuts, Landry said. The budget also uses no fund balance, or surplus, in the general fund, and limited fund balance in the highway budget.

Along with a tax levy increase totaling 1.42 percent, representing an extra $100,030 raised through taxes, the budget also anticipates an extra $75,000 in mortgage tax revenues and an extra $55,000 in sale of real property compared with 2012’s spending plan.

One part-time position in the seniors program, held by part-timer RoseMarie Mullaney, would become full time.

“I think I’ve put together a good budget that stays within the tax cap,” Landry said.

The amount of highway fund balance tapped in the proposed budget is $43,109, about 10 percent of the current reserves, Landry said.

Landry’s budget as proposed Monday stays within the state property tax cap, calling for total 2013 appropriations of $13,665,930, up $415,316 from the 2012 approved spending plan.

The tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value for homeowners would be set at just over $2.45, up from $2.40 for 2012, marking an increase of about 1.94 percent.

The non-homestead tax rate, generally covering businesses, would decrease slightly from $5.04 per $100,000 in assessed value in the 2012 plan to $4.99, for a reduction of about 1 percent.

The public hearing on the budget is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 15, with the vote to approve a 2013 spending plan possibly taking place on the deadline, Nov. 20. Neither date is final.

Landry said his proposal includes estimates for expiring union contracts yet to be negotiated.

He said he also anticipates capital improvements, possibly for vehicle purchases or additional paving. Those could be put into a bond.

Budgeted highway expenditures are to remain the same, with an annual big-ticket purchase, asphalt, remaining at $413,000 for 2013.

Among the annual increases are those for health insurance and retirement costs. Retirement costs are slated to increase $169,300 to $1,163,400. Health insurance is expected to go up $88,400 to $1,198,000.

“You’re talking about a $170,000 increase in retirement in one year in our budget that I have no control over,” Landry said.

“It’s something that’s a huge, huge impact in our budget,” Landry said of both health insurance and retirement.

The proposed 2013 budget does include an increased estimate for mortgage tax receipts, from the $625,000 budgeted for 2012 to $700,000 budgeted for 2013.

Landry said he anticipates home purchases to pick up or refinancing to increase, both increasing mortgage tax income.

Revenue from the town’s controversial yard waste fee is slated to increase $20,000 to $170,000. Landry said the final 2012 numbers are not available, but they’re anticipating the higher number.

The yard waste fee, which residents can opt out of, was put in for the first time in the 2012 budget.

Sale of town-owned property would be budgeted at $145,000 in revenue, up from $90,000 budgeted for 2012. Land to be sold involves parcels from a hilly area near the town recreation center that the town has been selling off for homes in recent years.

Senior programs personnel would get a $36,000 increase to $115,000. That increase, in part, is to go to make Mullaney full time. Landry said he felt the senior program could be better run with a full-time person.

Along with that, Landry said the town is putting programs for seniors, adults and children under the Office of Community Programs, all reporting to Lori Peretti, the coordinator of community programs. Peretti’s salary would be increased to reflect that, but the exact figure wouldn’t be set until January. Peretti was hired in 2009 at a salary of $45,000.

Sales tax revenue is set at $3,170,000 in the proposed 2013 budget, unchanged from the appropriation for 2012.

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