PETER BOODY FILE PHOTO | Town Board members, Town Clerk Dorothy Ogar and Town Hall staffer Kathy Sullivan (right) at a recent budget review session.
There were no public comments when the Town Board held a public hearing on its proposed 2013 budget Wednesday.
“For those who get battered in elections every two to four years,” commented Town Supervisor Jim Dougherty, “silence is golden.”
The Town Board appears likely to adopt the plan later this month. It calls for total spending of about $10.71 million, up $335,414 or about 3.2 percent from the $10.38 million budgeted for the current year.
The proposed budget carries a tax-rate hike of 3.9 percent, which nearly conforms to the state’s 2-percent cap on annual tax-rate hikes because of a credit the town is carrying forward from 2012, when its 1.1-percent rate hike was well under the state limit.
The 2013 spending plan, which the Town Board finalized last week but may continue to tweak, calls for raising $6,995,945 in property tax revenue, up 3.9 percent from the current year’s $6,735,220 tax levy, which carried a property tax rate of about $2.21 per $1,000 of assessed value.
The Town Board, which must adopt a final budget no later than November 20, is expected to cut about $7,400 from the proposal in order to reduce the tax levy below the state’s 2-percent limit on annual tax-rate hikes. Counting its credit for last year, the town’s tax levy limit under the 2-percent cap $6,988,464, according to Supervisor Jim Dougherty.
Other sources of revenue include $2,935,433 in various non-tax sources and $786,700 allocated from the annual fund balance or unspent revenues, which are expected to total about $3 million at the close of 2012. That figure is more than double the $340,000 allocated from the fund balance in 2012.
Townwide general fund spending for 2012 is proposed to rise 9.15 percent from $6,924,842 to $7,579,995, not including the minor cut the board is expected to make. The budget keeps the allocation for the town’s limited 4-poster program at $75,000 — a plan to raise the allocation to more than $90,000 to expand the program was sidelined — and at last report it retained $7,500 for a new audio system for Channel 22 in the Town Hall board room.
Among the higher costs (some of them offset by spending cuts in other areas) that have been allocated in the 2013 spending plan:
• Employee retirement benefits, up $131,826 or 22.35 percent from $589,826 to $721,652.
• Public Safety, including police salaries, up 7.61 percent or about $118,000 from $1.549 million to $1.667.
• The new Length of Service Award Program for the town ambulance corps, up from nothing budgeted in 2012 — when the program was approved by voters — to $100,000 in 2013.
• Landfill operational costs, up $104,500 or 12.93 percent from $808,147 to $912,647.
• Social Security payments for employees, up 17 percent or $35,471 from $207,755 to $243,226.
• Debt service up 11.93 percent from $200,146 in 2012 to $224,042.
• The new town ambulance squad, acquired at the beginning of 2012 from the Red Cross, up 35.83 percent or $20,550 from $57,350 budgeted for 2012 to $77,900 for 2013.
• Nutrition Program, up 13.82 percent to $108,568
• Senior citizen services, up 15.42 percent to $73,369
• Silver Circle up 5.7 percent to $29,220
• Senior Center up 438 percent from $8,623 to $46,469, mostly due to the allocation for maintenance costs rising from $2,250 to $27,250
Most salary increases are limited to 2 percent except police, highway and CSEA union employees. Town Board members except for the supervisor are to receive a 2-percent raise from $35,005 to $35,705. The supervisor’s salary remains $70,000.
• The two town justices will receive 2 percent raises from $23,632 to $24,105.
• The highway superintendent salary is up 2 percent from $50,959 to $51,978, which does not include pay as public works commissioner.
• Assessors will get raises of just below 2 percent: head assessor Al Hammond’s salary will rise from $62,032 to $63,270 and the two part-time assessors will receive raises from $18,344 to $18,700.
• Town Clerk Dorothy Ogar’s salary, up 2 percent from $72,148 to $73,592
• Deputy Clerk Sharon Jacobs’ base salary will be up 8.75 percent from $29,605 to $32,197.