Ti plans mock budgets

TICONDEROGA - The 2012 Ticonderoga town budget won't be adopted for 10 months, but local leaders want to get a jump on what's expected to be a difficult process.

Supervisor Deb Malaney said the town's operational efficiency committee is creating mock budgets, based on the 2 percent property tax cap proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"Some version of a property tax cap will likely be passed," Malaney said. "Rather than wait until fall, we're going to start work on this now."

Holding town taxes to a 2 percent increase will be a challenge for Ticonderoga trustees. Last fall they struggled before adopting a $5 million 2011 budget that raised local taxes 3.6 percent - nearly twice the proposed tax cap.

Malaney said she hopes any property tax cap legislation will be accompanied by mandate relief. Mandates handed down by the state often add to town expenses, she noted.

"If there's no mandate relief, it will be a very difficult budget," she said."

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

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

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.

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.

The 2011 budget eliminated 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.

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