Oct 27, 2009 Doug Campbell Uncategorized
Lebanon town board members finalized a proposed 2010 town budget that will reduce the local tax levy by $406 or less than a tenth of a percent following a budget workshop Monday night, according to Town Supervisor Jim Goldstein.
Town board members Steven Wilcox, Lois Hartshorn, Marie Morgan and Goldstein reviewed the proposed town budget line item by line item, and discussed budget projections with bookkeeper Elaina Morgan and Highway Superintendent Alex Hodge.
The original tentative budget had considered a 1-percent increase in the local tax levy but Supervisor Goldstein had predicted that he anticipated town officials might find an opportunity to keep the property taxes flat.
Town officials agreed with the recommendations by Goldstein, also the town budget officer, to apply $5,000 in additional sales tax projected by Madison County Treasurer Cindy Edick against the tax levy with no additional increases. The tentative budget had contained more conservative sales tax projections awaiting final numbers from Madison County that were verified last week.
Goldstein said he had anticipated the opportunity might exist to hold the line on taxes once additional information on anticipated expenditures for 2009 and 2010 were available, along with revenue sources including sales tax.
The 2010 proposed budget will have a tax levy of $363,766 compared to $364,172 last year, the projected tax rate will be approximately $4.64 per $1,000 of assessed valuation compared to $6.265297 per $1,000 this year, a reduction of about 26 percent in the town property tax rate.
Goldstein said the tax rate was $7.13 per $1,000 when he took office in 2010. He said the average $100,000 home in Lebanon will pay about $464 in town property taxes this year and acknowledges the tax levy is flat to account for the assessment revaluation increase this past year.
Goldstein said that a public hearing on the proposed 2010 Town of Lebanon budget will be held at 8 p.m. Thursday Nov. 5 at the town office, 1210 Bradley Brook Road in the hamlet. Copies of the proposed budget will be available through the town clerk’s office for review by the public upon request, and will also be available at the public hearing.
Town officials did not recommend any salary increases for town elected or appointed officials, and Goldstein noted that in his initial budget requests to town officials in August, he asked them to present written justifications for any raise in which they should outline where they either increased revenue dramatically or saved significant costs for the township. He reported to the town board that no town officials requested a salary increase and said that was appropriate given the current state of the local economy.
Modifications in the town budget included:
— Increasing the assessor salary from $10,107 to $10,350. This is based on a contractual formula agreed to by Assessor David Gray in 2007 that is fixed for six years at a rate of $9 per parcel. The number of town parcels increased from 1,123 to 1,150 in 2009 due to subdivisions and splits.
— Increasing the salary of the town bookeeper by $300 from $6,700 to $7,000 due to a dramatic increase in hours required to research payroll information related to buybacks in state retirement from former town employees permitterd by the NYS retirement system. Supervisor Goldstein estimated that one request alone this year required an additional 50 hours of reserach in old town records given how far back employment records went. Due to the decision by the State Comptroller to permit these buybacks, the town has seen an increase in former employees who once opted out of state retirement now being permitted to buy back time to become eligible. Town officials agreed this would necessitate a significant increase in bookkeeping hours and raised the bookkeeper salary for 2010, which was not increased in 2009.
— Reduced the Town Justice Contractual line from $1,400 to $1,100 given the expenditures in that budget line have not been significant.
— Established the updated budget lines for the four local fire and ambulance district tax levies which are as follows:
Eaton Fire and Ambulance – increasing from $8,700 to $9,250.
Earlville Fire and SOMAC ambulance – increasing from $32,733 to $32,765
Georgetown Fire and Ambulance – increasing from $23,488 to $26,300.
Hamilton Fire and Ambulance increasing – from $14,831 to $19,959 due to new equipment purchases.
The hamlet Lighting District levy will remain the same at $2,300 due to the ongoing success of the town participating in the MEGA program, a nonprofit group run by local governments, that is available to municipalities to reduce utility and energy costs.
Residents with budget questions can contact Supervisor Goldstein at 837-4152 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The town board will meet to finalize its 2010 budget and conduct other town business at 7:30 p.m. Monday Nov. 9 at the town office.