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Lake George Village to cut spending in coming year

LAKE GEORGE - Despite a looming 26.6 percent increase in health care premiums paid for its employees, Lake George village has cut enough of its expenses in other areas to contain its upcoming tax increase to 1.2 percent.

Monday night, the village released details of its 2010-11 budget, which calls for $1.28 million to be raised by taxes, a $15,114 increase over 2009-10.

The spending plan calls for $3.85 million in appropriations, a $75,209 increase over the budget as presented last year, but $137,655 less than the present budget after it was amended to provide for unexpected revenue shortfalls.

The $3,851,454 in appropriations for 2010-11 is to be reduced by $2,385,179 in revenues and $185,000 in fund balance, leaving $$1,281,275 to be raised in taxes.

Workers' health premiums to be hiked

A public hearing has been set for 7 p.m. Wednesday March 24 for citizens to air their views on the budget.

The health premium increase prompted the Village Board to vote Monday to increase the Village employees' existing contributions toward health premiums by two percentage points. The increases are effective June 1 for active employees and next Jan. 1 for retirees.

Now, employees and retirees pay anywhere from zero percent to fifty percent of the premiums, depending on when they were hired and years of service.

Board votes for revaluation

According to the 2010-11 budget, the assessed valuation of property in the village is expected to decline from $156.9 million to $154.7 million.

Village Mayor Robert Blais said these figures don't reflect actual value, noting that the state has set the village's equalization rate at 58 percent this year.

Blais said the artificially low property valuation, offset by the equalization rate which essentially boosts the assessment back to estimated full value, is a disservice to taxpayers, as it curtails state and federal aid and reduces the village's appropriation of sales tax revenues, Blais said.

"We should have a reappraisal done in fairness to our village citizens," Mayor Robert Blais said.

Hearing the mayor's concerns, the village board voted to lobby the town assessor to conduct a revaluation of village properties this year.

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