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April 27, 2014

Saranac Lake tax levy sees no change

SARANAC LAKE — Saranac Lake’s tentative budget holds taxes steady.

The Village Board will vote on the spending plan on Monday, April 28.

CARRYOVER MISTAKE

Adjustments in spending were made to accommodate a miscalculation in last year’s tax-cap formula that indicated a carryover, which will be reapplied as a credit.

The error was discovered by the Comptroller’s Office, Village Treasurer Paul Ellis explained.

“Saranac Lake is not alone in this. Initial interpretations in tax-levy regulations led a number of municipalities to believe they were entitled to a carryover,” a remainder factored by the tax-levy formula and then applied to the next year’s budget.

While the state website indicated a carryover for Saranac Lake for this year, that was later found to be a mistake.

“The tax-levy overpayment will be returned to the taxpayers,” Ellis said. “It is approximately $51,000 in Saranac Lake and will be used as a credit, reducing the tax levy even further.”

SAME LEVY

The tax levy for 2014-15 is proposed at $3,548,382, the same as current spending.

But the total Village of Saranac Lake budget is down 1.2 percent, proposed at $5,053,866 for June 1, 2014 to May 31, 2015.

Pay increases for village employees are still in discussion.

“We’re in negotiations with both unions, for police and the Service Employees International Union for village employees,” Ellis said.

CAPITAL EXPENSES

Budget allocation for capital repairs is proposed at $450,000.

“If you don’t keep the allocation consistent, you’re not going to be able to meet the tax cap,” Ellis said.

Capital acquisition and planning items in the budget include: $40,000 for a new police vehicle; $30,000, Fire Station boiler and heating system; $18,000, village travel vehicle; $20,000, sidewalks; $35,000, Lake Flower lift station upgrade; and $20,000, asphalt for road projects.

The April 1 closure of the Village Court to share court service with Harrietstown netted a $5,000 savings.

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