By LOHR McKINSTRY
---- — TICONDEROGA — The tentative Ticonderoga town budget for next year stays within the state’s tax-levy cap.
The adjusted tax-levy-increase limit is 1.98 percent, Town Supervisor Debra Malaney said.
The amount to be raised by taxes is $4 million, 1.9 percent more than the $3.9 million in the current budget.
The total budget is $8.4 million, .45 percent more than this year’s $8.37 million.
The budget will probably be fine-tuned and lowered even more after the public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, in the Ticonderoga Community Building, Malaney said.
“We still have to shake out some fluff. We’re continuing with budget workshops, and we’ll reduce it (the levy) as much as we can.”
She said both town employees and elected officials are in the budget for 2 percent raises, but “public officials may take zero again.”
Elected officials received no raises last year, she said.
EMERGENCY SQUAD REQUEST
The budget has no new positions or layoffs, the supervisor said.
“We have expanded the summer beach program by two weeks to work with the school calendar,” she said.
That will cost about $2,000 more, she said.
The Ticonderoga Emergency Squad, which has not been receiving town funds, asked for between $40,000 and $50,000 for next year, Malaney said.
“We haven’t decided on that yet.”
The Town Council will vote on the Emergency Squad request after the budget hearing, she said. The squad has been financed by contributions and insurance fees from transported patients, but officials say those numbers are declining.
The Chilson Fire Department has also asked the town to help with the purchase of new low-band radio pagers, costing about $10,000, but a decision hasn’t been made there, either, the supervisor said.
By cutting various expenditures, the highway section of the budget was reduced by more than $43,000, dropping from $1.78 million to $1.74 million.
“Overall, department heads were very responsible at submitting tight budgets,” Malaney said. “We’ll reduce the budget and tighten it up before it’s passed.”
The town is working on an alternate public water source to its two surface sources, Gooseneck Pond and Lake George, but that is part of a $2.7 million planned bond issue to get started, and the project is not on the tax levy in the tentative budget. The town also has $2 million in grant funds so far to work on the project.
Malaney said the State Department of Health “strongly suggested” a groundwater source, and they have two test wells drilled in the town’s Streetroad hamlet.
“We could also upgrade or replace our filtration plants at Gooseneck and Lake George, but that cost is estimated at $32 million at Gooseneck and $12 million for Lake George,” she said.
“The cost for a well, including land purchase, engineering and legal, is $14 million.”
The cost estimates were provided by the town’s engineering firm, AES Northeast of Plattsburgh.
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