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Manlius Village Board: still too early to determine tax rate

— Although the village of Manlius’ tentative 2014-15 budget calls for no increase in taxes, the village board is waiting until its next meeting, on April 22, to make the final decision for its spending plan.

After some discussion following its budget public hearing on April 15, the board decided to wait until it can see the final numbers for revenues and expenses from the month of March before announcing whether or not taxpayers will have to pay more this year.

The way the numbers stand today, Manlius would appropriate about $195,000 from its fund balance to offset a revenue shortfall. Trustee Scott McGrew pointed out that in previous years, the board has had to appropriate as much as $400,000, and that he doesn’t think a tax hike is necessary.

“We’re down far enough that I don’t think we need to raise taxes… I’m confident that where we’re at now - $195,000 - that that is a very doable number to live with without raising taxes,” said McGrew.

Last year, Manlius’ tax rate jumped up 30 cents from $7.60 to $7.90 per $100,000 of assessed home value.

Budget highlights

This year’s $5,335,700 million tentative spending plan is up less than one percent than the 2013-14 budget, which totaled $5,301,209. The village changed providers for its worker’s compensation and disability coverage, which resulted in a decrease for the cost of both, 35 percent and 5 percent respectively. In fact, the total cost for employee benefits, which includes several unfunded mandates from the state and makes up about 21 percent of the budget, went down almost seven percent this year.

A big reason why the village saved some much on its worker’s compensation costs is because it changed the way that it categorizes salaries for its DPW employees. Instead of lumping all of the different employees’ salaries together in one general personnel category, the village split them into different categories. This not only helped to cut costs, it makes the budget more transparent for taxpayers, who are able to see exactly how much is spent on for all aspects of the DPW; including snow plowing, road work, and more.

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