Clay budget calls for $14 tax increase

— Despite holding a public hearing at its last meeting to override the state’s 2 percent property tax cap, the town of Clay may not need to do so.

The Clay Town Board presented its tentative budget at its regular meeting Monday, Oct. 15. The $12,826,529 budget represents an increase of $826,309 from 2012, but it is down $109,390 from 2011.

“This budget includes no new positions and continues a no-frills approach to providing town services,” said Supervisor Damian Ulatowski.

The only increases in the budget come from employee wage increases of $135,638, a 2.5 percent increase negotiated through union contracts, into which the town is locked for the next three years, and pension, health and Social Security benefit increases of $643,650.

Ulatowski said the town had managed to generate “substantial savings” in its 2013 budget. A $500,000 energy grant received last year renovated the town’s highway garage, and the energy efficiency improvements are expected to save the town $3,000 a year. The town also refinanced the bonds issued to finance the construction of the town hall in 2002, generating a savings of $37,500 a year from 2012 to 2027 when the bonds retire — a total of $600,312. Finally, the town has entered into a contract with a firm that will provide school crossing guards privately instead of at the town’s cost.

As a result, the tax impact would be an additional $13.78 per $100,000 of assessed value for a house outside the village of North Syracuse.

“That’s about $1.17 a month more next year,” Ulatowski said. “I’m not certain you can get a loaf of bread for that.”

Within the village, homeowners would pay an additional $4.43 per $100,000 of assessed value, or less than $0.50 per month.

In addition, Ulatowski noted that county taxes will drop by $25 in 2013.

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