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Clay passes budget

The Clay Town Board unanimously passed the 2010 budget at the board's Nov. 16 meeting.

The budget, totaling $12,715,027, includes a tax increase amounting to $43.86 on a $150,000 house. But taxes are still lower than they were in 2008, according to Supervisor Damian Ulatowski.

"We did have a tax increase this year," Ulatowski said, "but taxes are still 2.58 percent lower than they were in the 2008 budget."

This year's budget included increases in the town's contribution to the state retirement fund -- up 62.3 percent from last year, thanks to a 26 percent drop in the amount the state contributes to the fund -- as well as increases in money allocated for salt and fuel. The budget also included salary increases as mandated by the town's contract with its employees' union and money to make up for a cut in Consolidated Highway Improvement (CHIPS) funds from the state government.

"All of those are out of our control," Ulatowski said. "But we still managed to keep taxes below the level they were two years ago."

The final budget includes a reduction of $259,666 from the preliminary budget presented Nov. 2. In addition, the town is negotiating with its employees regarding their health care plan. If the employees agree to a different health and welfare benefits option than their current plan, which is offered through the Teamsters, the town will save an additional $250,000.

While those negotiations will not be completed in time to have an impact on this year's budget, Ulatowski said any savings generated would go into the town's reserve fund, which would help next year.

""We're trying to be as fiscally responsible as we can," Ulatowski said. "And we hope to do more."

In other business:

A public hearing scheduled for Monday night was adjourned when no one appeared on behalf of the applicant.

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