Saratoga County

Ballston budget proposal has no town tax again

The tentative town budget for 2013 calls for increased spending but no townwide tax for the 13th con

The tentative town budget for 2013 calls for increased spending but no townwide tax for the 13th consecutive year.

Town Supervisor Patricia Southworth has submitted a tentative budget that totals $6.3 million, up from $5.9 million in the current budget.

The town has had no general or highway tax since 2001. It relies on revenue from the Saratoga County sales tax and mortgage recording tax for most of its income.

This year, the proposed budget proposal also calls for taking more than $400,000 from various fund balances to help balance the next budget.

Southworth said the proposed highway budget includes new spending of $175,000 for the removal of underground fuel tanks at the town complex and their replacement with an above-ground fueling facility.

“This project is long overdue and is necessary to protect the environment and to reduce the towns insurance risk profile,” Southworth said.

Also included in the budget is $25,000 to buy a new vehicle for the building department.

One new initiative in Southworth’s proposed budget is a $2,500 grant to Community Human Services to institute the Carelinks Program in the town of Ballston.

Carelinks, a private nonprofit that operates in several other towns, provides support services to individuals over 60. One of the goals of the program is to keep residents living at home.

The tentative budget includes a 3 percent cost-of-living increase for town employees. Southworth said town salaries were frozen for two of the past four years.

The salaries of the Town Board members and supervisor have been cut by 50 percent “to assist in covering the additional expenses,” Southworth said. That will reduce the supervisor’s salary to $10,227, and the Town Board’s allotments to $4,545 each.

Water district costs, however, will be increasing. “The town’s water districts are under considerable stress due to numerous water main breaks the past several years,” Southworth said.

The water districts also incurred debt costs from borrowing to build a pumping station and connecting to the Saratoga County Water Authority system, and from painting the town’s southern water tower, Southworth said.

“Consolidating our ten water districts is long overdue,” Southworth said. “This would allow for a clearer picture of the financial status, as well as ensuring equal distribution of the costs by those benefiting from the service.”

The town library has asked for a 2.9 percent increase, its first in four years, she said.

Six Town Board budget workshops are scheduled during October.

A public hearing on the preliminary budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, at the Town Hall.

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