Clay, Salina release tentative budgets

The towns of Clay and Salina released their tentative 2008 budgets in presentations to the town boards and the public last week. Both budgets call for tax increases to cover rising costs. Both supervisors called the budgets fiscally responsible.

Clay: 3.9 percent tax increase

Supervisor James Rowley provided the town board with the tentative budget at Monday night's meeting. He stressed that the figures are very preliminary.

"I would stress to you that it's tentative," Rowley said. "There's plenty of opportunity to change this."

The town budget has three parts: the town of Clay including part of the village of North Syracuse, the town excluding the village and the highway budget. The total budget for all three is approximately $12.5 million, an increase of approximately $400,000 over the 2007 adopted budget.

The budget proposed a 3.9 percent increase in the tax rate for town residents -- a $1.96 more per $1,000 of assessed value.

Unlike other towns, Clay's tax rates are not based on the full value of the home. The assessed value is a percentage of the home's full value.

"Our equalization rate for 2007 is 4.45 percent," Rowley said. "To get your full value, you take the assessed value on your tax bills and divide by .0445."

Rowley said that Clay's equalization rate means that the proposed increase doesn't hide extra costs, like a raised assessment.

"In towns where assessments are based on full value, figuring out your tax increase is a two-part calculation," he said. "You have to figure out how much your assessment went up, and you have to know the actual tax rate increase. In Clay, our assessments don't really change. I'd say 90 percent or better [of the properties in the town] don't change year to year. So when I say it's a 3.9 percent increase, it's really just that 3.9 percent."

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