PLATTSBURGH — The Town of Plattsburgh passed its 2013 budget with a 1.9 percent tax-levy increase, despite concerns from a local taxpayers group.
The final tally was up from a 1.2 percent increase in the tentative budget. The levy, which is the amount of the budget to be raised from property taxes, increased from $3.05 million in 2012 to $3.1 million in 2013.
Town Supervisor Bernie Bassett said the main increase came in the highway fund, where the tax levy went from $725,000 to $775,000. That increased the tax rate from 67 cents per $1,000 to 72 cents.
The budget decreased the 2 percent salary increases planned for Town Council members to 0.8 percent.
Several members of the Cumberland Head Taxpayers Association expressed dissatisfaction with the 2013 budget.
Cumberland Head resident Holly Sims said that while the town states that it has no general-fund tax, it does have a Highway Department tax and now a Consolidated Lighting District tax.
Sims said that when the town uses its share of Clinton County sales-tax revenue to help reduce its general and highway tax levies, it increases the cost of town residents’ county property taxes. Real tax relief can be achieved only through a reduction in spending, she said.
Sims would like to see all town financial documents displayed on the town website in a timely manner, rather than making them available only through a Freedom of Information Law request.
Richard Mudd of Cumberland Head said the Town Council members appear to have no idea of the impact of their actions regarding spending and the budget.
“The passing of this budget comes as no surprise to me,” he said.
Mudd said the council should realize it is working for the town residents, who are paying councilors’ salaries and funding part of the budget.
He has talked with many people who want to know more about how the town operates, he said, and the association members are eager to share the information they have.