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Manlius town budget a work in progress

The town budget remained the hot topic before the Manlius Town Board Oct. 22, especially as taxes increase despite the board's efforts to keep costs low.

The board gave feedback on the tentative budget proposed by Supervisor Mark Tetley in September, as well as considered the fire department budgets for the villages of Fayetteville, Manlius and Minoa in a public hearing. The construction of a new Verizon cell tower in the town was also given consideration.

The board presented changes to Tetley's tentative budget. Some of these changes included decreasing salt costs by $40,000 because of the salt storage shed, adding back some of the reduction in legal fees and decreasing the budget for gasoline and diesel.

The price of oil has gone down since the budget was first presented, so the board suggested a decrease in $10,000, from $115,000, in gas. The overall budget for diesel was reduced by $32,000, from $145,000, as well.

Councilor Nick Marzola, who presented these changes, said new state mandates for environmental regulation and education will increase the town's spending as well.

Property taxes have increased by 9 percent from last year due to a decrease in non-tax revenues, including mortgages and building permits.

"We're losing other opportunities to get taxes in the town," Tetley said. "It's unfortunate, but we've taken a big hit, and we have to make up the difference in taxes."

A change to be discussed at the Nov. 12 meeting will be a health insurance premium increase by 12.5 percent, which is $120,000 over last year. This means the town would have to pay more for the health insurance it provides to town employees. Some unfilled positions were also eliminated from the budget, including one in the town hall, one in the police department and two in the highway department.

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