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November 3, 2013

Town of Plattsburgh makes budget cuts

Tentative tax levy cut from 47% to 16%

PLATTSBURGH — The Town of Plattsburgh has dramatically whittled down its tentative 2014 tax-levy increase, from 47 to 16 percent.

The tax levy in the preliminary budget is now set at $3.64 million, up from $3.14 million in the 2013 budget.

It includes the money to be raised by property taxes for the highway fund and the Consolidated Lighting, Sewer, Water and Ambulance districts. It does not include the town’s fire districts, where the budget is set by each fire department.

OVERRIDE STILL NEEDED

The levy had been $4.58 million in the 2014 tentative budget but was reduced by $806,642.

The total preliminary budget, including fire districts, is set at $15.85 million, down from $16.14 million in 2013.

To stay under the New York state property-tax cap, the levy would need to be $3.25 million or less.

The 16 percent tax-levy increase in the preliminary budget is 12.1 percent over the tax cap, requiring that the Town Council pass a local law to exceed it.

REDUCTIONS ANTICIPATED

Town Supervisor Bernie Bassett said town officials always knew they were going to make significant cuts to the tentative budget, which he described as a wish list for each department.

Due to the deadline for filing the tentative budget, there wasn’t time to make cuts before it was released to the public.

“We knew we were going to make changes. We began working on that immediately with our departments to reduce the 2014 budget,” he said.

“The numbers we have are significant when compared to the tentative budget and I think indicate a reasonable change over last year.”

LEVY, RATE PARED

The tax levy in the highway fund has been reduced to $1.07 million from $2.3 million, which dropped the tax rate from $2.11 per $1,000 of assessed value to 99 cents, still up from 72 cents in 2013.

A taxpayer whose property is assessed at $150,000 would pay a highway fund tax of about $148.50 next year, up from about $108 for 2013.

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