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What you need to know for 07/26/2017

Scotia board adopts budget with 3.2 percent tax hike

Scotia board adopts budget with 3.2 percent tax hike

Taxes for village of Scotia residents would rise an average of $55 under an $8.6 million budget adop

Taxes for village of Scotia residents would rise an average of $55 under an $8.6 million budget adopted last week by the Board of Trustees.

The board unanimously approved a spending plan that would increase the tax levy by 3.2 percent — which exceeds the village’s tax levy limit of 2.5 percent. The tax rate is projected to increase from $11.64 to $12.01 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

The owner of an average house assessed at $125,000 would see the village tax bill on it increase to $1,501.

The board approved the budget with little discussion. Mayor Kris Kastberg said the budget preserves village services, which is important to residents.

It also includes $210,000 for the paving program — $100,000 of which is funded by a state grant, $15,000 for the sidewalk improvement program and $20,000 for a contingency fund. There is also funding for a police cruiser and a pickup truck for the Department of Public Works.

He said the village was fortunate that there was no increase in its health insurance costs, which he attributed to the wellness programs that it has implemented for its employees about living healthy lifestyles.

Among the biggest increases was the village’s contribution to the pension fund, which went from $675,000 this year to nearly $800,000.

The village also taps $375,000 from surplus, which is more than the village typically uses, and will leave Scotia with about $1 million to $1.1 million in the account.

Board members were pleased with the spending plan.

“I think the board did an excellent job to bring this budget in as tight as it was,” said Trustee Joe Rizzo.

As part of the budget, the board increased some fees. Kastberg said there has been an incredible demand for use of Collins Park by nonresidents and village officials believed that it was only fair that they pay more to support it.

The new two-tiered schedule would charge village residents $25 and nonresidents $50 for a four-hour period to reserve the fields in Collins Park. There are higher fees for designated fields: the Adirondack Indians baseball field at $85; Little League field at $40; Little League Majors field at $50 and Babe Ruth field at $85. The proceeds will go to the sponsoring organizations.

To use the pavilion on weekdays, residents would pay $25 and nonresidents $75. There is no fee for weekends but it is first come, first served.

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