Rotterdam

Tentative Rotterdam budget would keep taxes flat, reduce water and sewer rates

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ROTTERDAM — Property taxes would remain flat and water and sewer rates would be reduced under a $27.5 million tentative budget Rotterdam unveiled Tuesday.

Town Board members are scheduled to begin hammering out details of the 2023 spending plan during a pair of workshop meetings on Thursday and Friday, which officials are encouraging the public to attend.

“We want the public to participate in the process,” said Deputy Supervisor Jack Dodson.

The tentative budget would reduce spending by $500,000 and include a property tax rate of $4.24 per $1,000 of assessed property value for homeowners and $8.25 per $1,000 of assessed value for commercial property owners. The current $28 million spending plan includes tax rates are $4.22 and $8.19 for homeowners and commercial property owners, respectively.

Water and sewer rates would also remain flat or decrease, according to Dodson, who acknowledged officials are still working to finalize details.

The tentative budget, for example, shows residents in Water District No. 5 would pay an operating and maintenance fee of $0. Dodson said the rate will likely remain at $157.89.

“I’ve never seen a tentative budget without mistakes,” he said.

But, the tentative budget shows significant decreases in other water and sewer rates throughout town.

Residents in Sewer District No. 2 would see their operating and maintenance fee drop $148 to $236.70 from $384.95, a 39% decrease, according to the budget.

Consolidated Water Districts No. 3 and 4 would see operating and maintenance fees decrease from $668.87 to $502.78, the equivalent of $166, or 25%.

Dodson said officials thoroughly examined how the special tax districts are operated and were able to improve efficiencies by consolidating some services to help drive rates down. He also noted that a decrease in debt service contributed to the lower rates.

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“We went into the budget and determined that the budget they had last year we could make reductions and we did, while keeping the same level of service,” Dodson said. “In my mind, there was a surplus that could be reduced. A lot of it is efficiency.”

The proposed budget shows a $1.1 million reduction in contractual expenditures (from $8.4 million to $7.3 million) and includes a $100,000 reduction in debt service.

Supervisor Mollie Collins said officials have been working since January to slash expenditures while maintaining services — work, she said, that is reflected in the proposed budget.

“We have been reviewing the budget since the beginning of January,” she said. 

If approved, the tentative budget would mark the first time that Rotterdam residents have not experienced a tax increase in a decade.

Property taxes for residents grew 10% for residents last year and nearly 17% for commercial property owners as part of the current operating budget, which also saw the town change its water-billing procedure in order to stay under the state’s 2% tax cap.

The budget comes as the town is preparing to tackle a number of long-neglected infrastructure upgrades, including improvements to the wastewater treatment plant and upgrades throughout Water District No. 5.

Last month, board members voted to borrow $34 million for water repairs and an additional $3 million for upgrades for Sewer District No. 2, which date back to 2019.

The town is in the process of applying for grants to help offset the costs and burden to taxpayers, who are expected to see a significant increase in their rates as soon as 2024.

Not included in the tentative spending plan is $1.1 million in federal funding the town received as part of the American Rescue Plan Act — a $1.9 trillion coronavirus-relief package approved by Congress last year to aid in pandemic-recovery efforts.

Collins previously said she would not be opposed to using the money to help pay for the infrastructure improvements, though the town is currently in the process of collecting input from residents on how the funds should be spent.

This week’s budget workshops are scheduled to take place Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the Rotterdam Town Hall, 1100 Sunrise Blvd.

Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.  

More: All NewsEverything Rotterdam

Categories: News, News, Rotterdam, Schenectady County

One Comment

William Marincic

This is what happens when you elect Republicans, they don’t raise your taxes. look where this country is today because of the reckless tax and spend policies of the democrat-run Senate, Congress, and President. Vote for the elephant in November, not the Jackass

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