Spafford passes town, fire budgets

The town of Spafford passed its 2014 operating budget at its Nov. 7 meeting.

The total proposed operating budget for the town is $1,654,826. Of that total, $858,492 will be raised by local property taxes. The fire district budget will be $379,750 with $359,650 raised from taxes.

Residents will pay $3.326 per $1,000 of assessed value in town property taxes, a small increase over this year’s budget that has a rate of $3.21.

The combined town and highway rates will remain steady at $2.30 per $1,000 of assessed value. The fire tax rate will be $1.026 per $1,000 of assessed value an increase of 13 percent from this year’s budget where it is 0.91 per $1,000.

The taxes and budgets for the highway and general funds are controlled by the town board, with supervisor Webb Stevens acting as chief financial officer. The taxes for the Spafford fire district are determined by the five elected fire commissioners who work with the Spafford and Borodino volunteer fire departments and hold their own public hearing independent of the town board.

Despite some tough economic times the town government has been able to keep the budget balanced and have not had to increase taxes in recent years, Stevens said.

“We’ve done a pretty good job with what we’ve had to work with here,” Stevens said. “We still maintain that tax rate and we haven’t cut any services or anything of that nature and we’re still operating the town in the black.”

The biggest entity within the town is the highway department. The department has had a substantial unexpended balance (or leftover money) in the past couple of years, though winter weather and equipment maintenance are always unpredictable making their budget fluctuate from year to year, Stevens said.

Since the town does not keep reserve funds the highway department, and others, have to operate within their budget each year, even if a large unexpected expense arises.

The annual salaries for the town supervisor ($10,000), town councilors ($1,450), town justice ($6,000), tax collector ($5,000) will all stay the same as the previous year.

The town clerk will receive a $170 increase to $16,700 and the highway superintendent will receive a $750 raise to $50,960.

Information for residents about how and when to pay their tax bill is available on the town website at townofspafford.com/taxcollector.

Joe Genco is the editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at editor@skaneatelespress.com.

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