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Town board adopts spending plan for 2011 with 5.9 percent tax increase

SCHROON LAKE - Taxes will increase 5.9 percent in Schroon next year.

The town board has adopted a 2011 budget totalling $4,335,097. That's $50,055 - 1 percent - more than the current spending plan of $4,205,042.

The amount to be raised by taxes in the 2011 budget is $2,125,792. That's $118,532 - 5.9 percent - more than the present tax levy of $2,007,260.

The 2011 tax rate in Schroon will be $3.06 per $1,000 of assessed value. That's an increase from the 2010 tax rate of $2.80 per $1,000 of assessed value.

"It gets more difficult every year," Schroon Supervisor Cathy Moses said of the budget process. "Expenses go up, revenues go down. I don't know where it all ends."

Moses said the town board worked hard to keep spending in check.

Every department in the town was cut 5 percent. The board also cut $10,000 for sidewalk repairs, $4,000 in heating fuel at the highway garage because of a new wood heat system, $5,000 in legal fees, $4,000 used for the ski lift and $2,000 used for snowmobile trails.

Those cuts totaled $28,000, but increases - most out of the control of the town board - totalled $92,001.

Contributions to the state retirement fund are up $38,391 and employee insurance costs are up $12,895. The town changed health insurance providers to save money, but employee health care costs still total $405,789 - nearly 10 percent of the entire town budget.

"Health insurance needs to get under control," Moses said. "It's not going to happen at the town or county level. We need. Insurance costs have gone up every year I've been here."

Moses has worked for the town 26 years and has been supervisor the past 11 years.

A weir at Paradox Lake needs immediate replacement at a cost of $30,000.

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