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Salina taxes may inch upward in 2011

The town of Salina will hold a public hearing concerning its proposed 2011 budget on Oct. 25 at 6:31 p.m. at Salina Town Hall. The new tentative budget is 2 percent larger than last year and includes a 1.6 percent tax increase.

The 2011 proposed budget is $9,656,830, while the 2010 budget was $9,463,399, according to the town supervisor's office.

"The budget clearly reflects the fact that the town is faced with a significant increase in expenses, workers compensation, medical insurance, pensions, salaries and revenue losses that total nearly $400,000 which we simply have no control over," said Town Supervisor Mark Nicotra at a budget presentation Oct. 5.

"Fortunately, keeping a tight rein on spending over the past three years has resulted in the town keeping a very healthy fund balance," Nicotra continued. "Good planning and fiscal responsibility have once again allowed us to use a portion of the fund balance to offset the town's contractual obligations and cost increases that are beyond our control."

Increases included a 41 percent increase in workers compensation insurance equaling $92,250; a 17 percent increase in pension costs equaling $61,503; an increase in Teamster health insurance of 9.5 percent or $65,748; and an increase in Service Employee International Union health insurance of 5 percent or $16,362.

Total projected costs for these budget items are workers compensation insurance, $317,250; pension costs, $374,868; Teamsters health insurance, $683,789; and Service Employee International Union health insurance, $338,211.

A homeowner in the town with a home assessed at $100,000 would expect to pay an additional $6.10 a year in property taxes over last year under the proposed budget. A homeowner in the village of Liverpool with a home assessed at $100,000 would expect to pay an additional $1.90 a year in property taxes over last year under the proposed budget.

"This budget, of course, is a work in progress and I stand ready to work with the town board with [an] eye toward reducing the tax burden on the tax payers of Salina," Nicotra said.

Copies of the proposed budget are being made available at the town clerks office, via email, and will also be posted on the town's website at salina.ny.us.

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