Taxpayers in the town of Salina will face a nominal increase if Supervisor Mark Nicotra’s preliminary budget is approved by the town board.
Nicotra presented his budget at a special session of the board on Wednesday, Oct. 5. The $9,418,326 budget calls for a continued hiring freeze on any new employees, uses a portion of the town’s fund balance to offset spending and includes a new and more favorable garbage contract that generated savings to the town over the previous contract.
The town faces increases in expenses in the form of workers compensation, medical insurance, pension and salaries, coupled with revenue losses totaling nearly $260,000, over which Nicotra said the town simply has no control.
However, given the town’s healthy fund balance and belt-tightening over the last three years, the budget calls for what Nicotra calls a nominal tax increase of $4.56 over last year’s taxes for a homeowner in the town with a home assessed at $100,000. For a home inside the village of Liverpool assessed at $100,000, the homeowner would have to pay an additional $4.68 over last year.
“The town expenses continue to be, by far, the smallest burden on the taxpayers when you compare them to the county, school district and state level of taxation,” Nicotra said.
The tax rate increase is well below the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap enacted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, something Nicotra said was aided by the new garbage contract as well as the willingness of the Liverpool Fire Protection District to trim costs.
All in all, Nicotra said he was happy with the preliminary budget he presented.
“I’m very pleased with this budget,” Nicotra said. “With everything going on in the economy, for me to be able to come in with a nominal increase, I think we’re in great shape.”
Nicotra pointed out that the town was in a similar situation last year with the preliminary budget.
“The town board was able to work it down to a zero tax impact,” he said. “I’m very confident we’ll be able to do it again this year.”
Nicotra admitted the budget he presented was “pretty tight,” but he was confident the board could make additional cuts to further reduce the tax impact.
“It may just be going in and sharpening the pencil a little bit,” Nicotra said. “The board likes to scour the highway budget, which is huge… and look at different things. They may see things that I don’t, or things that I don’t want to make the decision on myself. We’ll make those final decisions as a group.”
The public hearing on the budget will take place at the Oct. 24 board meeting. The final budget must be approved by Nov. 20.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.