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Ti taxes to increase 3.6 percent

TICONDEROGA - Ticonderoga taxes will increase 3.6 percent in 2011.

The Ti town board adopted a $5 million budget for next year at its Nov. 11 meeting.

The budget totals $5,075,754, an increase of $123,785 - 2.5 percent - from the 2010 spending plan of $4,951,960.

The 2011 tax levy will be $4,015,402, an increase of $140,262 - 3.6 percent - from the 2010 tax levy of $3,875,140.

While taxes are going up next year, tax rates will decline because a revaluation of the town has increased assessments.

The 2011 tax rate in the Ticonderoga fire district will be $7.34 per $1,000 of assessed value. That's down from the current tax rate of $9.56.

The tax rate next year in the Chilson fire district will be $7.74 per $1,000 of assessed value. That's down from the current tax rate of $10.13.

"We worked very hard on this budget," Supervisor Deb Malaney said. "Balancing increasing expenses with deceasing revenues is very tough."

The town board made cuts across the board in an effort to limit spending.

"Every department made sacrifices," Malaney said. "We took something from everyone."

The exception is in the highway department budget, which increased $118,720 to a total of $1,682,700. Malaney explained the department needs to purchase a street sweeper and a payloader. Both will be used, she said.

"When repair costs escalate it doesn't make sense to invest money in old equipment," she said. "The sweeper is important because it collects sand and gravel, keeping it out of the wastewater system. That saves us money. The payloader will be shared between the highway and water departments."

The other major increase in the 2011 budget is a 9.5 percent hike in employee health insurance costs.

Malaney pointed out the 2011 spending plan contains no pay increases for any town employee or elected official.

"I feel badly about that," she said. "Town employees work very hard for the taxpayers. I wish we could have given them something, but it can't be done this year."

The budget eliminates four jobs through attrition, three in the highway department and one on the water department. The board added $20,000 to the spending plan for part-time help to offset those retirements.

"We feel it's a fiscally-sound budget," Malaney said. "The board members are taxpayers as well. We know how difficult things are for many people and worked to control spending."

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