Press-Republican

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December 6, 2013

Franklin County okays 5.05 percent levy increase

MALONE — Franklin County narrowly adopted its 2014 budget by a vote of 4 to 3 on Thursday, raising the tax levy 5.05 percent to fund the $102 million plan.

The average tax-bill increase on a home valued at $100,000 will be about $21.25 next year.

The budget totals $102,694,972, an increase of 1.73 percent from this year.

The amount to be raised by taxes is $15,627,066, an increase of 5.05 percent.

TAX RATES

The tax rates per $1,000 of assessed-property value for each township, adopted following the budget vote, are: Bangor, $4.40; Bellmont, $4.40; Bombay, $161.97; Brandon, $4.86; Brighton, $5.12; Burke, $6.96; Chateaugay, $4.40; Constable, $39.90; Dickinson, $4.41; Duane, $5.13; Fort Covington, $4.40; Franklin, $4.40; Harrietstown, $4.12; Malone, $5.23; Moira, $4.40; Santa Clara, $4.40; Tupper Lake, $4.41; Waverly, $4.40; and Westville, $4.41.

‘DIFFICULT CHOICES’

Legislators Sue Robideau (R-Brushton), Paul Maroun (R-Tupper Lake) Marc “Tim” Lashomb (R-Malone) and Timothy Burpoe (D-Saranac Lake) voted for the budget, while Tim Smith (D-Fort Covington), Gordon Crossman (D-Malone) and Board Chairman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay) voted against it.

Burpoe, who is chairman of the Finance Committee and did not seek re-election, praised his colleagues and all who helped with the budget, saying the board made difficult choices and must focus on real need.

“We are providing services, and we are providing to people who possibly don’t pay property tax,” he said. “But that’s what we do, so we have to prioritize.”

LaShomb said that increasing taxes in small increments in consecutive years, as opposed to double-digit numbers, would help the county rebuild its depleted fund balance, a concern pointed out in an audit earlier this year by the State Comptroller’s Office.

“With the 5.05 percent, we won’t impose that kind of increase,” he said. 

UPS FUND BALANCE

Crossman said he wouldn’t approve the budget because “too many of my people are struggling to try to stay in their homes.”

Smith told another legislator he couldn’t say yes because, “I’ll be laughed out of Fort Covington.”

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