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Clay: Budget on hold

The town of Clay will take comments on its preliminary budget at one more public hearing before it is enacted Nov. 20.

At the board's regular meeting Nov. 5, Supervisor James Rowley said he wanted to hold off on passing the budget as long as possible to allow for public comment on it.

"We do have some more time," Rowley said. "We don't have to adopt it until the 20th, and we happen to have a meeting on the 19th, so I would make the suggestion that we adjourn this public hearing until the 19th just in case something comes up."

The operating budget was presented at the board's meeting Oct. 15. It has since been tweaked slightly; the tax rate will increase by 3.7 percent instead of 3.9 percent. The town used part of its fund balance to reduce the tax increase.

"This [budget] puts the town in good shape," Rowley said. "I'm comfortable with this budget as being proposed in the preliminary stages."

The overall 2008 budget, which includes the village of North Syracuse, is $136,325,582, a 1.69-percent increase over the 2007 budget. It includes provisions to perform operational audits in all town departments, study options to increase efficiency and evaluate opportunities for consolidation with other governmental units. The major factor in increasing the budget is the cost of benefits, which went up by 14.7 percent.

The final public hearing on the budget will take place at 7:44 p.m. Nov. 19.

Special Districts budget

The town also discussed its other budgets at the board meeting Monday night. The Special Districts budget includes all of the special assessment districts of the town, including sewer, drainage, water, lighting, hydrant and trash.

Town comptroller John Shehadi presented the proposed budget before the board and the public. The total budget is $5,745,000; $5,633,000 is to be raised through taxes.

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