“We are not going away,” Mudd said.
HIGHER COUNTY TAX
Former Town Councilor John St. Germain, a resident of Cadyville, said the town’s general and highway tax rates are kept low through the use of $2 million in county sales-tax funds. Because of that, he said, town residents pay $6.03 per $1,000 of assessed value in county property taxes compared to $2.95 in the Town of Schuyler Falls.
The town highway tax rate would increase from 67 cents per $1,000 to $2.27 per $1,000 if sales-tax money were not applied, St. Germain said. That compares to $1.54 per $1,000 in Schuyler Falls.
John Andrus, also of Cumberland Head, said he hopes the Town Council will be more transparent in the future. He reiterated his call for the council to freeze the budget at the 2012 level.
Andrus noted the town is one of only three in Clinton County that uses its share of sales-tax revenue to reduce its general-fund levy rather than apply it toward county property taxes.
The association previously said that the town had a $6.5 million surplus in its budget. The town countered it had a surplus of about $500,000 in its general fund.
Cumberland Head resident Debbie Blake said members of the association never said the town’s $6.5 million surplus was solely in the general fund but that it was spread through a number of lines in the budget.
“I know the information we put out is accurate,” she said.
Bassett said that, after checking with the town budget officer, he confirmed there is a $6.5 million surplus in the total budget. He said it’s illegal to shift that money from the department for which it was targeted and that auditors have told the town that its surplus should be increased.
He said it is not possible to freeze the budget at 2012 levels due to rising costs, such as insurance and retirement.
“I’ve heard the phrase ‘freeze the budget.’ I wish we could,” he said.
The council is making prudent decisions for the present and the long-term future of the town, he said.
“Your words have been heard, and they have been heard before.”
Email Dan Heath: email@example.com