Saratoga County

Ballston Spa residents face higher taxes, water, sewer fees

Residents of Ballston Spa will be looking at higher property tax, water and sewer charges, according

Residents of Ballston Spa will be looking at higher property tax, water and sewer charges, according to the tentative 2016-2017 village budget.

The $4.1 million spending plan released this week by Mayor John Romano would raise property taxes 6.47 percent, while hiking the water rate 20 percent and the sewer rate 15 percent.

Romano blamed employee benefit costs that are beyond the village’s control, along with aging underground infrastructure that has required nearly $1 million in emergency repairs in the last couple of years.

“These are tough times that we live in, and the challenges are unprecedented,” Romano said. “It threatens our ability to provide basic services.”

Last year, property taxes went up 1.36 percent. Romano said the proposed budget would be the first in which the village has had to increase taxes above the state’s 2 percent tax cap.

Under the tentative budget, the property tax rate would increase from $76.74 to $81.71 per $1,000 assessed value. The village assesses properties at only a small fraction of their full market value.

The minimum water bill for a residence that uses 30,000 gallons over six months would rise from $51.84 to $62.27. The village bills twice per year, and large-volume water users pay a discounted rate.

With sewer service, the minimum rate would rise from $28.80 to $33.12, also paid every six months.

In addition to having to repair water and sewer infrastructure that is more than 100 years old, Romano said the village is facing higher costs for employee health care, retirement and worker’s compensation. The village also recently paid $120,000 to make the village hall handicapped-accessible.

Ballston Spa is the largest village in Saratoga County, and is also the county seat. It has 5,600 residents, but Romano noted it really has no room for additional growth or ways to expand the property tax base.

A public hearing on the budget proposal has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, April 11, at the village hall. There will also be a hearing at 7:15 p.m. that night on a local law required to override the tax cap.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

Categories: -News-, Schenectady County

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