SCOTIA — Village residents would see a 1.2% tax increase under a proposed $10.6 million spending plan put forward by Mayor David Bucciferro this week for the upcoming fiscal year.
Bucciferro, a Republican in his first term, said expiring debt and increases to other revenue sources, including interest on investment accounts, allowed the village to minimize the burden to taxpayers while maintaining all employees and services.
“It was a matter of revenue and tightening our belts in some areas,” he said. “We had some expenses that fell out of the expense roll, but I give the credit to the people that work here. They’re very conscious of taxpayer money.”
Taxpayers would pay $15.11 per $1,000 of assessed property value under the proposal, which would bring the village’s tax levy to $5.7 million, an increase of around 2% compared to the current levy of $5.6 million.
Included in the $8.4 million general budget plan is an increase to police department spending of just over $40,000, which would bring the department’s total budget to $1,613,957, up from the current $1,573,673 in spending. The proposed increase includes $22,000 more in personnel spending and an $8,000 increase in overtime spending.
The proposed increase comes after the village paid out large overtime payments of police and fire personnel last year, which officials said was necessary due to staffing shortages.
At the fire department, spending would decrease slightly under the proposal, falling from $1.67 million to just over $1.65 million, which Bucciferro attributed to the retirement of a firefighter who was injured while on duty. The department, he said, remains fully staffed.
“They were on our personnel roll, but when they reached retirement age, they came off that,” he said. “We were always fully staffed.”
The proposed budget also calls for a $31,800 increase to the village’s metered water sales, a 3% increase, bringing the budget for the water fund to $910,000. Bucciferro said it’s unclear how the increase will affect residents, but noted any impact to water bills would be minimal.
He attributed the increase to the rising price of chemicals, a drop in usage and the need for increased water quality testing after elevated lead levels were discovered in several homes during routine water testing last year.
The village is in the process of a systemwide corrosion control study that will examine the extent of corrosion in water pipes. Bucciferro said the study is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Sewer rates under the spending plan would remain flat.
Not included in this year’s proposed spending plan is cost associated with the $13.8 million facilities improvement project approved by residents last year.
Bucciferro said debt associated with the project lags behind a year and likely won’t start appearing until the 2024-25 budget, though that could change depending on when the bonds are issued and construction begins.
He said bids for the project, which call for constructing a new fire station and renovations to the police and village offices, are being finalized and construction could begin as early as May. In the meantime, Buccifero said the village is in the process of applying for grants to help offset the cost to taxpayers.
“It doesn’t affect this year and it may not even affect next year’s budget,” he said.
Buccifero said the village will be holding a public hearing on the proposed budget on April 12, with plans to adopt the budget later that night or later that month.
A final budget is due by May 1.
Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected] or by calling 518-395-3120.
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Categories: News, Schenectady County, Scotia Glenville