DeWitt town board could vote on budget Monday

— The DeWitt Town Board could vote on its operating budget for 2012 at its next meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, at town hall. The current proposal is a $16.5 million spending plan that includes a 5-cent increase in the tax rate, though Supervisor Ed Michalenko says he plans to bring the tax rate increase to zero before putting the budget to a vote.

The supervisor said he will need to decrease the spending plan by $100,000 to make that happen. 2011’s tax rate, which he hopes to maintain, was $4.42 per $1,000 assessed value.

The town has cut spending through consolidation of departments and other means in order to keep the tax rate stable, Michalenko said. In the past year, the town combined its tax receiver and clerk’s departments structurally and physically to increase the cost-efficiency of both. It also implemented a retirement incentive, resulting in $300,000 in savings, Michalenko said.

The town also saved by changing how highway department employees are paid. All highway department employees used to make around $50,000 a year plus overtime pay, but now employees start at $30,000 a year, and their pay increases gradually over time, Michalenko said.

Michalenko said the town has cut electric light costs by 55 percent by switching from three T8 light bulbs per fixture to two T8 bulbs. The recently installed solar panels on the roof of town hall will save the town another 15 percent in electricity costs.

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