Marcellus board passes 2010 budget, lowers tax levy

The Marcellus Town Board approved the 2010 town budget at the No. 5 special board meeting.

The $2.5 million budget decreases the 2009 tax levy by $25,000, which translates to a slight decrease in town taxes for residents.

Supervisor Dan Ross said this was accomplished by shrinking contributions to reserve funds in for the Marcellus Fire and highway departments, cutting back on salary increases and decreasing some employee hours.

The town previously had allotted $90,000 to the fire department's truck reserve fund, but the 2010 budget puts $60,000 into the fund. The reserve fund is used by the department to purchase new apparatus.

The Marcellus Free Library will continue to receive $27,500 from the town, after appealing to the board earlier this year to maintain the annual level of funding.

Representatives from the library had worried that the town, like the village, would decide to cut its funding and let the library garner its own funds directly from the taxpayers, as the library has the power to levy taxes through the school district budget.

But Ross said the board decided not to cut library funding, since the town's contributions are used to cover part of the facility's operational costs.

"The difference the library and the fire department is that we tried not to impact operating funds," he said. "The money for the library goes into operating funds, not reserves."

Ross added that the apparatus the Marcellus Fire Department is currently in the process of purchasing would not be affected by changes to the 2010 budget. Rather, changes in contributions to the truck reserve fund could impact purchases five years in the future, when the department will be looking to purchase another truck.

But the board could not justify maintaining reserve funding contributions at a cost of increased burden on taxpayers, Ross said.

If the economy doesn't bounce back by next year's budget season, though, it may not be so simple to find cuts.

"Once we've taken these cuts, I don't think we can take them any further," Ross said. "If we have to take anything next year we might have to cut into operating funds."

Copies of the approved 2010 Marcellus town budget are available to the public at Marcellus Town Hall, 24 E. Main St., Marcellus.

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