Nov 15, 2012 Erin Wisneski Uncategorized
Despite facing increased expenses and shortfalls in revenue, both Lysander and Van Buren were able to hold the line on next year’s budgets and neither municipality exceeded the 2 percent tax cap imposed by New York State on the tax levy (amount raised through property taxes).
On Nov. 8, Lysander officials approved a $4,292,927 overall budget for 2013, which is an 8.9 decrease compared with last year’s $4,713,540 budget. The town also faced a 17.8 percent decrease ($306,570) in revenue, which resulted in the town cutting highway expenditures by roughly 20 percent.
Officials made the decision to cut the highway department’s equipment fund by 92.2 percent (from $589,350 in 2012 to $45,950 in 2013); rather than purchasing needed highway equipment outright, the town will instead finance the purchase. The loss of sales tax revenue (Lysander received $440,000 from the county in 2012), an 11 percent increase in employee benefits (health insurance and state mandated retirement costs) and desire to remain within the 2 percent tax cap contributed to this decision. It should be noted that the budget reflects a $36,650 increase in highway expenditures for road construction projects for 2013 as well as the addition of a part-time deputy highway superintendent for a cost of $10,000.
Other key components of the budget include: the reduction in staff in the assessor’s office, which saved the town $24,000; there were no raises given for elected officials, bargaining unit employees or non-bargaining employees; and a reduction in the town’s overall assessed value by approximately $58 million (due to a PILOT – payment in lieu of taxes – granted to Anheuser-Busch, which takes the company off the tax roll).
Lysander residents within the village of Baldwinsville will see a decrease in town property taxes. Their 2013 tax rate is 53.47 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, compared to 61.87 cents in 2012; this equates to an $8.40 decrease in taxes for a property assessed at $100,000 within village limits. Residents outside the village will see an increase from $1.338 (2012) to $1.5905 (2013) per $1,000 of assessed property value, which is an 18.9 percent increase over last year’s budget. This equates to a $25.25 increase in taxes for a property assessed at $100,000 outside the village.
On Nov. 7, Van Buren officials approved a $5,306,377 budget, which is a 4.74 percent increase compared to last year’s $5,247,048; this includes a 1.36 percent ($48,381) increase in the tax levy (from $3,563,166 in 2012 to $3,611,547 in 2013).
It was the same story as Lysander with Van Buren seeing more than an 11 percent increase in benefits specifically from health insurance (10.1 percent more than last year), New York State Retirement (18.2 percent more than last year) and workmen’s compensation (up 12.2 percent).
“These are major costs for every local government, which they have no control over,” said Van Buren Comptroller Gregg Maxwell.
Fund balance reserves will be used to offset one-time expenses such as needed repair on the highway salt storage shed, which will cost $60,000, and $10,000 for the town to pay for a new web site (existing site b-ville.com is closing). Another major expense is $50,000 needed to update the town’s master plan.
Despite the budget increase, residents living outside village limits will see a 17 percent decrease in their tax rate while those residing within village limits will see a slight increase of 1.47 percent.
The 2013 tax rate for residents within the village is $1.6239 per $1,000 of assessed property value, compared to $1.6003 per $1,000 in 2012; this equates to a $2.36 increase in taxes for a property assessed at $100,000 within village limits. Residents outside the village will see a decrease in the tax rate from $4.4541 (2012) to $4.4080 (2013) per $1,000 of assessed property value, which equates to a $4.61 decrease in taxes for a property assessed at $100,000 outside the village.
In addition to the general fund, several areas will see a significant difference in district charges, specifically drainage and sewer. Harbor Heights sewer’s tax rate increases 264 percent from .0679 per $1,000 to 0.2473 per $1,000 of assessed value; Village Green No. 1 sewer district increases 86.28 percent from 0.6967 per $1,000 to 1.2978 per $1,000 of assessed value; and Upland Harbor Heights sees the most significant increase of 385.9 percent for its drainage district with residents paying $209.0323 in 2013 vs. $43.0194 in 2012.
Van Buren officials also approved a one-year contract with the Baldwinsville Volunteer Fire Company to provide fire protection services in 2013 for a total cost of $507,844, which represents a 4 percent increase over last year’s contract.
BVFC president Tom Perkins said the department is faced with the same unfunded state mandates as municipalities noting one of the newest requirements, which states the tires on fire trucks have to be replaced every seven years. “We receive 800 to 900 calls per year, but not every truck is used [for every call],” he said.