Press-Republican

September 30, 2013

Tax-cap override looms in Malone

By DENISE A. RAYMO
Press-Republican

---- — MALONE — The Malone Town Council will have to cut about $712,000 from the tentative 2014 budget to fall below the state mandated property-tax-levy cap.

Town Budget Officer Andrea Stewart advised members last week to pass a local law for residents’ permission to override the tax cap when she filed the spending plan.

The tentative budget includes a tax increase of $3.13 per $1,000 of assessed-property value for properties outside the Village of Malone and an increase of 79 cents per $1,000 properties inside the village.

The overall spending plan is $4,247,419, an increase of 25.7 percent from this year.

The tax levy, or amount to be raised by taxes, is $3,455,630, an increase of 36.8 percent.

‘FAR ABOVE CAP’

Without any changes to the tentative plan, the tax rate outside the village would be $11.26 per $1,000, an increase of 38.5 percent, and $4.76 per $1,000 inside the village, up 19.9 percent.

A home assessed at $100,000 outside the village would see a tax bill of $1,126, and a $100,000 home inside the village would pay $476.

The first work meeting to trim the tentative budget is set for 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Town Office at the Malone Dufort Airport.

“The tax cap is 1.66 percent this year, so now we’re far above that,” Stewart told the council. “I suggest you consider adopting the local law whether you need it or not. 

I’m not really sure you can get it down that much.”

DEPARTMENT REQUESTS

Mandated expenses are driving a majority of the increase, such as health-care insurance, retirement costs and union contracts, she said.

The budget officer provided each member with information packets of department-head requests.

Town Supervisor Howard Maneely said he identified nearly $500,000 in reductions during his initial review of the budget.

“I can recommend cutting $481,500 off the top,” he said, although he did not specify what the reductions would be.

The Highway Department request includes $70,000 for a new salt shed, $225,000 for a new snowplow and $40,000 for a new pickup truck.

Roadway projects in the 2014 budget include 1.3 miles of Arnold Road and an extension of Robinson Circle.

PAY RAISES

A third court-clerk position has been proposed at a salary of $13,000 at 30 hours a week, and proposed raises are included for the deputy highway superintendent ($1,000); fire and building-code officer ($1,000); highway superintendent ($800); highway clerk ($1,000); assessor ($5,400); supervisor’s secretary/bookkeeper ($3,000); town clerk/tax receiver ($3,000); deputy town clerk ($850); senior court clerk ($250); and data collector ($3,800).

Water-rate increases are also proposed, rates that are paid for by the users of each district.

The rate for the 158 east-side equivalent-dwelling units is $169.16, an increase of 25.8 percent, and the rate for the 307 west-side EDUs would go down 2.2 percent to $107.20.

The town would use $438,000 from its fund balance toward lowering the budget, which is an increase of 24.6 percent from the $352,000 used this year.

Email Denise A. Raymo:draymo@pressrepublican.com