October 17, 2013

Public criticizes Town of Plattsburgh budget

PLATTSBURGH — Residents criticized spending during a public hearing on a local law to allow the Plattsburgh Town Council to override the state tax cap for its 2014 budget.

In its recently released tentative spending plan, the council came up with a tax-levy increase of 47 percent overall for a total budget that would climb from $3.14 million this year to $4.58 million.

The state figure for the 2014 tax-levy cap is 1.66 percent.

About 50 people attended the hearing on Local Law 3 of 2013, which would allow the town to exceed that cap. That law needs to be in place before the town votes on a final budget to enable it to exceed the cap if necessary.

The largest tentative tax-levy increase is in the highway fund, up to $2.3 million from $756,000, an increase of about 198 percent over this year. 

Town Supervisor Bernie Bassett said the Town Council, Budget Officer Diane Miller and Finance Manager Patrick Bowen will continue to meet with department heads to find ways to cut the budget.

“We don’t know what the next stage of the budget will be. We’re in the paring process,” he said.


Town Council candidate Bill Brudvig said by his calculations, the town would generate about $1.6 million in revenue with the highway-fund tax levy and underestimated sales tax revenue in 2013 and 2014. He said that just paves the way for continued over-spending at the town level.

“You guys have got to do something about your spending,” he said.

Town Council candidate Michael Cashman said he isn’t in favor of exceeding the cap.

“Since I have heard about this proposal, I have been against it,” he said.

Cashman said he would like to see the town receive more of the sales-tax money generated in the county, as the businesses in the town are the leading contributor.

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