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Village budget proposed, board approves exceeding state tax levy limit

— Cazenovia village residents will see their village taxes increase by 19 cents for every $1,000 of assessed value — or 3 percent — under the tentative 2014-15 village budget, which was presented by the village board last week.

The $2.6 million budget, which the board has been working on since February and made available to the public in March, includes a proposed tax levy rate of $6.49 per $1,000, which is a 3 percent increase from last year. The increase means an additional $19 in taxes for a $100,000 home in the village.

Mayor Kurt Wheeler, who gave a brief presentation during a public hearing on the proposed budget, said a few budget highlights were that assessed values were at $160 million, which was a $1.8 million increase from last year, while the village’s estimated sales tax revenue from Madison County was $580,000, an increase of $20,000 from last year.

This year’s proposed tax levy rate of 3 percent, which exceeds the 2 percent state tax levy cap, was decided upon due to the need to pay for state-mandates such as in state retirement system payments and insurance premiums, while also budgeting enough money to pay for needed local services, Wheeler said.

“We try to keep the levy as low as we can and meet what we feel are local needs that residents expect … [and] we created balanced budget with 3 percent levy increase,” he said.

The 3 percent increase also essentially opts out of Governor Cuomo’s “tax freeze” proposal included in the recently passed state budget. That proposal would use state money to refund slight tax increases directly to individual homeowners but only if local governments keep tax increases to under 2 percent and make serious attempts to consolidate services. Cuomo said the tax freeze would be a way to get local governments and schools to share services and thereby cut costs that would lead to lower taxes.

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