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No tax rate increase in Spafford town budget

— Spafford town residents will see no tax rate increase and a three-cent overall tax decrease in 2012, according to the final town budget, which the Spafford Town Board unanimously approved at its Nov. 10 meeting.

“This year we held the line,” said Spafford Town Supervisor Webb Stevens. “We maintained the flat rate; there was no increase.”

The total town tax rate for 2012, which includes the general and highway funds but not the Spafford fire district fund, will be $2.43 per $1,000 assessed value. The 2011 town tax rate was $2.42 per $1,000 assessed value.

The 2012 fire district tax rate will be $0.95 per $1,000 assessed value, down four cents from $0.99 in 2011.

The overall Spafford tax rate, which is the combination of the town and fire district rates, for 2012 will be $3.38 per $1,000 assessed value, down three cents from $3.41 per $1,000 assessed value in 2011.

The major change in the 2012 budget from the previous year was an $82,000 increase in total highway fund appropriations. This included machinery, snow removal and employee benefit costs. More specifically, costs for fuel, blacktop, salt, sand, equipment and machinery and equipment repairs have increased significantly since 2011, Stevens said.

Some of the other specific changes in the budget from 2011:

• $20,000 increase in employee benefit expenses, including state retirement, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance;

• $6,000 increase in the buildings accounts for equipment and capital improvements;

• $1,000 increase in garbage removal fees;

• $395 reduction in state aid;

• $5,000 reduction in the water district appropriation.

The 2012 budget also includes increases totaling approximately $5,000 in town personnel salaries, ranging from $40 increase for the town custodian to a $3,000 increase in the highway department payroll. The increases were to keep up with inflation and “just to help keep good people,” Stevens said.

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