The 2010 budget preparation process is winding down. In our discussions, the town board has been weighing the wants and needs of the town, determined to keep any tax levy increase tied to the inflation rate. According to the Moore Inflation Predictor at www.fintrend.com, the most likely inflation for the next year is predicted to be 3.5 percent with an extreme high at 5.5 percent and an extreme low of 1.8 percent. The current inflation rate, as calculated by www.inflationdata.com, from January 2009 to September 2009, is 2.29 percent.
The preliminary budget the board has worked out calls for an increase in total budget expenditures of 3 percent. The general fund budget is down 2.6 percent and the highway is up 4.8 percent. In this preliminary budget, the salary increase for employees and elected officials - other than the supervisor and the town board members whose salaries will continue to remain the same as in the previous five years - is 3 percent.
The Town Crier is scheduled to be published four times in 2010. We have budgeted again this year for a community development consultant who has helped win us grants totaling $106,000 so far and has provided valuable assistance in our planning efforts to revitalize the hamlets and our dormant industrial park.
The tax rate - the amount you pay based on your individual assessment - for the general fund is scheduled to be decreased by eight cents per thousand of assessed value. The highway rate is up 11 cents per thousand and these two combine to be a total proposed rate increase of three cents per thousand.
We've put aside $71,700 in an equipment line that will go toward a new truck purchase in 2011. In order to meet a county initiative, we have had to set aside $4,070 to go towards expenses that will enable our tax collector to take part in a county data base program at some point in the future.
The hearing for this preliminary budget is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 5.
Joe Gerardi is the supervisor of the town of Saranac. His column appears regularly in the Clinton County Free Trader Today.