PLATTSBURGH — The town's preliminary 2020 budget has come in under New York state's tax-levy cap.
The proposed $14.54 million budget included a tax levy of $4.27 million, up $121,626 from 2019.
Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor Michael Cashman said the levy could have been upped $186,000 and still sat under that state limit.
Since elected in 2015, the supervisor said this was the fourth time the town's budget had been under the tax cap.
"I want to thank the department heads and the team members here," Cashman said. "This is a collaborative effort by the employees and the Town Council and that's how we're able to do what we need to do for the taxpayers.
"We are very vigilant in our responsibilities to remain under the tax cap. That is one of our top priorities."
The projected 2020 tax levy includes the town's Highway, Water & Sewer Department and Base Storm Water District.
"As well as our town's consolidated districts, which include the ambulance, water, sewer and lighting districts," Cashman said.
The general fund will not be included in the tax levy.
"We continue to have no general fund tax," Cashman said. "But we will receive $2.61 million, which is about the same as last year."
The town's budget proposal shows appropriations for the Consolidated Water District at $2.68 million, down from the current $2.7 million.
That tax rate will be $1.43 per $1,000, up from $1.29.
"This is in relationship to the borrowings for our capital improvement," Cashman said.
The Consolidated Sewer District is seeing an upped tax rate for the same reason.
That district has been budgeted at $1.56 million with a tax rate of $0.56 per $1,000, up from $0.54.
The town's appropriation for the highway fund will be $2.67 million, down from $2.76 million in 2019 with a levy of $1.05 million.
"That highway levy is down from $1.13 million in 2019," Cashman said. "The decrease is mainly tied off with a bond that was paid off."
The supervisor said the Town of Plattsburgh was continuing to negotiate a deal with its ambulance service providers.
"That's very typical this time of year," he said, adding that those providers supply other municipalities with services. "It will be ratified by the end of the year."
Next year's numbers show increased health insurance costs, rising 3.2 percent for union employees and about 5 percent for non-union workers.
"Our retirement system costs are up about 3.58 percent, too," Cashman said.
The proposed 2020 spending plan budgets for 2.8 percent increases for most elected officials.
The supervisor's salary will reach $73,000, up $4,000 from its current $69,000.
"I froze my salary during the four years — I did not take a wage adjustment," Cashman said, adding that he will do the same for his next four-year term, which he will run for uncontested during next week's elections.
The salaries for the town's highway superintendent, justices and clerk will be increased to $87,865, $38,336 and $33,451, respectively.
Plattsburgh Town Council members will have an unchanged salary of $13,000.
FROM THE GROUND UP
Cashman said the Town of Plattsburgh used a modified zero-based budget process.
"We really focus in on the budget from the ground floor," he said. "We look at the things that are going to be required of us each year and then, from there, we look at mission-driven items, priority projects, etc."
In the proposed 2020 budget, those missions and priorities related heavily to infrastructure, he said.
"One of the things that we continue to look ahead at is the traffic light at Ampersand," Cashman said. "We also make sure that our budget has monies available so that we can apply for grants and do planning.
"Our community has a foundation of strong planning."
All-in-all, Cashman said, the town's budget for next year highlights items related to health and safety, sustainability and economic development.
"We have and will continue to create partnerships, both public and private, to advance things that make our community, a great place to live, work, play and invest in," he said.
The Town Council will host a budget hearing on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. at the Town Hall, 151 Banker Road.
Copies of the budget can be found in the Town Clerk's office or online at townofplattsburgh.com.
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