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October 11, 2013

Tentative town tax levy up 47 percent

PLATTSBURGH — The Town of Plattsburgh’s tentative tax-levy increase for 2014 is 47 percent.

The levy would increase to $4.58 million from $3.14 million in the 2013 budget. It includes the levy for the highway fund, Consolidated Lighting District, Sewer Districts, Water Districts and Consolidated Ambulance District.

Town Supervisor Bernie Bassett emphasized that the figure is not final, that the budget so far includes what each department needs and also a wish list of what they would like to have.

HIGHWAY BUDGET

The largest increase is in the highway-budget tax levy, as the town is drastically reducing the amount of county sales-tax money that has, in the past, been used to offset expenditures.

Last year, the town allotted $1.38 million from sales tax for the purpose, but that amount is reduced to $250,000 in the tentative budget.

That would increase the levy for highway to $2.3 million from $765,000, up about 198 percent.

The tax rate would increase from 71.7 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to $2.11. For a homeowner with a property assessed at $100,000, that would be an an increase of about $138 in highway taxes alone.

’SALES TAX NOT PREDICTABLE’

Bassett said he feels it’s important for highway maintenance to be funded by a property tax, as sales-tax revenue is not always predictable. 

The large tax-levy increase, he added, would also allow to town to build a highway fund reserve.  

The average for highway-fund tax rates in other municipalities in Clinton County is about $2 per $1,000, the supervisor said, so this brings the town in line with those rates.

NO GENERAL-FUND TAX

The total tentative budget represents a 3.2 percent increase, from $16.13 million this year to $16.65 million for 2014.

That includes a 5.9 percent rise in the general fund, from $3.67 million in 2013 to $3.89 million.

With this tentative spending plan, taxpayers would see the bulk of sales tax applied to the general fund rather than the highway fund. It calls for $2.96 million for the purpose, up from $2 million last year.

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