PLATTSBURGH — The proposed 2014 budget for the City of Plattsburgh would increase the tax levy by the maximum amount allowed under the state cap.
The levy is slated to go up 2.32 percent in Mayor Donald Kasprzak’s proposed plan, while the tax rate would go down 1.5 percent.
Kasprzak presented his budget plan Friday. It features a proposed tax rate of $10.59 per $1,000 of assessed property value, and a total levy — the amount to be raised by taxes — of $9,877,470.
“This budget was as difficult as any budget I’ve done since I became mayor in 2007,” he said.
“We’ve had increases again in retirement, health care, employee benefits and personnel costs, and they all have an impact.”
The City Charter requires the mayor to submit his budget proposal by Oct. 1 of each year. The Common Council then has until Jan. 9 to make changes and approve a final package.
Despite the increase in costs, Kasprzak said, his budget plan meets the state-imposed tax cap, which for the city will be 2.32 percent.
The cap for 2014 is based on a 1.66 percent rate of inflation set by the state and a .66 percent rate of growth for the city, which is allowed under the state guidelines.
“While I understand any tax increase affects each and every city resident and business owner, to maintain the level of services the taxpayers expect and deserve, this increase is necessary in 2014,” the mayor said.
“My budget, however, does not include increases in the city water, sewer, garbage or electric rates for 2014.”
To produce his $54.2 million budget package, the mayor used about $1.8 million in fund balance, leaving only about $722,000, which is about 3 percent of the general fund, below the state-recommended 5 to 10 percent.
Councilor James Calnon (I-Ward 4), who as mayor pro tem serves as the city’s budget officer, said he is concerned about the low fund-balance projection but figures it might increase based on what is left over at the end of this year.