Lysander, Van Buren approve 2013 budgets

— 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.

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