The Clay Town Board approved a 9.98 percent tax increase Monday Nov. 15 for the upcoming fiscal year.
The board voted to approve and adopt its four budgets - special districts, fire, water and town - for 2011 during its regular session.
Without any hesitation, the five councilors and Supervisor Damian Ulatowski passed the budgets for special districts, which include items such as sewer and lighting districts, and the uniform water budget. However, all votes were not unanimous where fire and the town budget were concerned.
Councilor Bruce Johnson was the sole "no" vote on the fire budget while the other five sitting board members seemed pleased with a nearly flat increase from the fire departments.
"I feel with certain economic conditions we have today, I would have hoped they could have cut," Johnson said.
He said he had hoped the five fire departments covering the town of Clay could have found somewhere to trim from their budgets and come in at 5 percent under last year's spending plan.
The town budget saw slightly more opposition as Deputy Supervisor Robert Edick and Councilor Joseph Bick both offered "no" votes.
Edick said the tax increase of 9.98 percent was still too much and he felt the board could have made additional cuts. Likewise, Bick stated he too believed the board still should cut further.
"The board has taken steps to reduce as much as possible," Ulatowski said, again citing state mandates as the largest draw from the town's coffers. "I think the board has done a great job."
As the town faces some $500,000 in mandates, such as retirement contribution and health insurance, the municipality did cut $300,000 from the budget, Johnson said.
"Any further cuts would be cutting services," he said.
The board voted 6-0 for 2011 Special Districts Budget, 5-1 for 2011 Fire Budget, 6-0 for 2011 Uniform Water Budget and 4-2 for Town of Clay Budget for Year 2011