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Local News

November 16, 2013

North Elba budget for 2014 is below tax cap

NORTH ELBA — The Town of North Elba tax-levy increase came in below the maximum allowed by New York state.

Town Budget Officer Catherine Gregory said the increase is 2.02 percent, for a total levy — the amount to be raised by taxes — of $4,063,020.

Overall spending for 2014 increased just $17,830, or three-tenths of 1 percent, with 2014’s total budget set at $7,081,275.

Residents in North Elba outside the villages of Saranac Lake and Lake Placid may see tax-rate increases of 5 or 6 percent.

Assessments in North Elba dropped overall.

RETIREMENT, INSURANCE

A 29 percent State Pension Fund payment increase, coupled with a 13 percent health-insurance rate hike, are part of the budget equation.

“What we are actually paying to the retirement system has increased,” Gregory said.

“The bill due in February 2014 is a 29 percent increase. We don’t amortize, and we have always paid in December to save the little bit we can.”

In nearby towns of Harrietstown and St. Armand, health-insurance costs actually went down in 2014 spending.

“Unfortunately, ours did not,” Gregory said. “The Town of North Elba is in a different classification of health-insurance group than the Town of Harrietstown, and ours went up 13 percent.”

Classification is due to the size of the group, in part, and whether the policy is experiential — based on use.

TRUCK PURCHASE

To counteract rising costs, small items were trimmed from the initial budget requests across town departments, along with a request for a new truck to use in clearing snow.

The North Elba Town Council opted not to buy a new tandem truck for the Highway Department, trimming about $200,000 from the 2014 spending plan.

“Instead, we are looking to bond for that purchase in 2014, and payments would begin in 2015,” Gregory said.

RAISES

Union and non-union employees in North Elba will get a 2.5 percent pay increase for 2014.

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