Manlius town board proposes less than a two percent tax increase for 2014

— At its Oct. 23 meeting, the Manlius town board held a public hearing for its 2014 preliminary budget, which calls for town taxpayers to pay seven cents more per $1,000 of assessed home value. The proposed tax rate for town residents is a 1.43 percent increase from last year, or $4.84 per $1,000 of assessed home value, up from $4.77 in 2013.

“There’s not too much out of the ordinary in the budget,” said Supervisor Ed Theobald. “We were fortunate to have less of an increase in our New York state retirement and health insurance costs this year.”

Last year, municipalities across the state struggled with the hefty increases in unfunded mandates. The town of Manlius saw its retirement costs go up $239,000 and its health insurance rise $99,000 from 2012. This year, retirement went up only $31,000 from 2013 and health insurance costs went up $97,000.

2014 will be the third year in which the property tax levy increase has been limited to two percent or the rate of inflation – whichever is less – by Gov. Cuomo. For the last two years, it’s been steady at two percent, but Theobald said that this year, it was lowered to 1.66 percent. Even though the town was able to keep its property tax levy at 1.58 percent in the 2014 preliminary budget, the board decided to vote to override the tax cap in August. Theobald said the board chose to override it as a precautionary measure.

“Every municipality should override it, even if [it] knows [it’s] going to be under the tax levy,” said Theobald. “If we send our budget in, which has the levy at 1.58 percent, [the state] could calculate the tax cap differently than we did, and could come back to us and say ‘You’re over the 1.66 percent and you’re going to have to pay a penalty.’”

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