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Village faces first tax hike in two years

LAKE GEORGE - The village government is using money from their fund balance and boosted septic disposal fees to reduce a tax increase for the upcoming fiscal year, Lake George Mayor Robert Blais explained in a press release this week.

The Village of Lake George held a hearing on Wednesday to present their proposed budget for 2010-2011 to the village residents.

The Village's proposed budget called for an increase of 2.6 percent or 21 cents per thousand of assessed valuation for their next fiscal year that begins June 1.

The spending plan called for appropriations of $3,851,454, an increase of $95,323. These expenditures are offset by a decrease in assessed valuation of $2.2 million, Blais said, and a 3.26 percent increase in anticipated revenues.

This tax increase is the first in two years for village taxpayers. The budget allocates $185,000 from the Village's fund balance to hold down the increase in taxes.

This budget budget presented to the village residents includes a 26.85 increase in health insurance costs, or a hike of $41,153. The other major increase is in state retirement benefit premiums from $52,000 to $100,000.

Revenues from sources other than real property taxes continue to play a major role in holding down the tax rate, Blais said. Parking meters amount for $515,000 annually as well as $215,000 anticipated in septic hauler fees at the Village Wastewater Plant. Mayor Blais has trimmed back anticipated revenues in sales tax and occupancy tax based on the past year's struggling economy.

Village employees will receive a 3 percent increase in wages according to the budget and overtime has been cut by 10 percent. Other cuts of 10 percent have been made in street lighting and building utility costs due to energy saving programs initiated by the Village's Go Green committee.

Surpluses in the 2009-10 budget will permit Village officials to undertake several capital improvements including a major expansion of the Shepard Park bandstand, including new lighting and storage facilities. The Village will also purchase over 3,400 additional LED lights for their holiday decorations that will result in substantial savings in energy.

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