By LOHR McKINSTRY
---- — MORIAH — Moriah officials are working to bring the tentative 2014 budget within the state’s tax-levy cap.
“We definitely will come within the 1.66 percent cap,” Moriah Town Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava said. “We’re holding more workshops.”
UP 6.8% SO FAR
The town’s tentative 2014 budget sets a tax levy of $1.7 million, excluding special districts, up 6.8 percent from $1.6 million this year.
But Scozzafava said the town has about $250,000 in its unexpended fund balance that will be used to reduce the levy to the cap amount.
That will be done after the budget public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Town Hall. The Town Council expects to pass the budget at its regular meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14. Both meetings are open to the public.
‘PRETTY BARE BONES’
There are no new positions in the budget, although they are replacing two pickup trucks, the supervisor said.
“The budget is pretty bare bones. As people retire, we eliminate their jobs. There’s not a lot left we can cut.”
The total budget is for $4.1 million, from $4.08 million this year, including all special districts.
Water rates are expected to stay at $290 a year and sewer charges at $420 a year.
The tax levy for Fire District 1, Moriah, is $123,939, up $48,740 from $75,199 last year, and for District 2, Mineville-Witherbee, it’s $57,007, the same as last time.
The fire-district budgets are set by an elected Board of Fire Commissioners, not the Town Council, Scozzafava said. If Fire District 1 continues with a 64 percent levy increase, it must pass a resolution to exceed the state’s tax cap.
The district told the town that commissioners are working to reduce the levy before the final budget is passed. The increase was earmarked for equipment updates.
Scozzafava said town employees, but not elected officials, are in the budget for 3 percent pay increases.
The Teamsters Union chapter representing the Moriah Town Highway Department gave back 1 percent of 3 percent contractual raises last year, so members got only 2 percent.
In addition, all town employees now contribute some percentage of their health insurance, based on when they were hired.
The town kept most expenditures down in the budget, the supervisor said, although health insurance went up about 10 percent.
He said they’re running in the black at the town trash transfer station after increasing the cost for a bag sticker from $2 to $2.50.
Usage dropped after the increase, he said, with revenue at the transfer station pegged at $200,000 for the year, compared with $220,000 that had been anticipated.
The operation will at least break even, he said.
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